New scanning technique may show signs of CTE in living football players

By WEEK Reporter
By NBC News

New scanning technique may show signs of CTE in living football players

January 23, 2013 Updated Jan 23, 2013 at 2:34 PM CDT

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- NBC News is reporting that a new brain scanning technique is allowing researchers to find cases of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in living professional football players.

Brain injuries have become an issue that the NFL has had to face as research has shown a connection between playing football and CTE. 

However, scientists could only study the brains of dead former football players to confirm if they had the disease.  Now, the University of California, Los Angeles has a new scanning technique that may show signs of the disease in living players.

The technique may allow scientists to look into the brains of living people and spot signs of the abnormally tangled clumps of a protein called "tau" that can cause such symptoms as memory loss, impulse control, mood volatility and, eventually, dementia in people with CTE.

UCLA scanned the brains of five former players 45 and older as well as the brains of five healthy men of the same age.

The scans from the healthy non-players showed no signs of tau build-up, but images from the players showed signs of tau build up that coorelated with hits sustained during their football careers.

The NBC News report can be read HERE.
 

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