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Ear to the Ground

The Dangers of ‘Football Brain’

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Posted on Aug 4, 2012
bibendum84 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

More than 3,000 former players and their families have filed a class-action lawsuit against the National Football League, alleging that the organization downplayed the risks associated with head injuries and “fostered a culture of violent play.”

A number of players have committed suicide after sustaining concussions during their NFL careers, injuries often followed by uncontrollable mood swings, attention deficit and other problems. Many have donated their brains to medical science in an attempt to better understand the consequences of head trauma. The Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy has roughly 60 such cases in its athletes’ brain bank.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

In Other Words at MedPage Today:

... Researchers are trying to untangle the neurologic and biologic processes by which concussions do their long-term damage. One group, led by Steven P. Broglio, PhD, of the University of Michigan, has recently published findings suggesting that repeated blows to the head actually hasten the brain’s natural age-related deterioration, with breakdown of various signaling pathways. They subjected a group of young, high-functioning college students who had experienced one or more concussions to a battery of cognitive and electrophysiological tests, and found that the students had difficulties with attention, were unable to inhibit incorrect responses to environmental stimuli, and had trouble understanding when they had made a mistake. Compared to healthy controls, the concussed group also showed deterioration in gait and balance.

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