Mark Roth of the Pittsburgh Post-Gaette put together an informational series on chronic traumatic encephalopathy; “a brain disease that afflicts athletes”.
In the first part that came out this past Sunday, Roth took a look at the global perception of CTE through the examples of Chris Henry and the possible case of still living Fred McNeill;
Chris Henry was a fleet wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals. During his five seasons with the team, he developed a reputation as a talented athlete on the field but a bad boy off it, even though those who knew him well say he was typically quiet and respectful. [...]
Fred McNeill played 12 seasons for the Minnesota Vikings in the ’70s and ’80s. After retiring, he finished law school and became a successful attorney in Minneapolis, helping to win major class-action lawsuits.
Henry would end up dead after an accident that was predicated with some unusual actions by him, McNeill now has full-time care takers as dementia has stripped him of everything he worked hard for.
Roth begins the second piece with those that can be easily called the experts in this area, Bennet Omalu and Ann McKee; Continue reading
If you paid attention yesterday you saw that a very preliminary study was unveiled about identification of tau proteins in the brain. This is significant on two fronts
- up until now this has been non-existent with current imaging technology
- tau is the #1 culprit in chronic traumatic encephalopathy
If, in fact, this PET scan can find and map out the tau in living brains this would be a “watershed” moment in the treatment of CTE. This would be because we have not been able to treat CTE, the only way to find CTE is via a posthumous examination.
I believe this is very exciting, but remember like all things in life, caution is needed – the study was only five former NFL’ers and to fully confirm the information gathered the researchers could be waiting a long time, hopefully.
A quick side note here, Dr. Bennett Omalu is a co-author on this study, which isn’t ironic as some have suggested, rather a product of his good work in this area. For those in the “know” surrounding research in concussions and CTE finds this part of the story – Omalu – “interesting”.
What a great start, and I am willing to be scanned if anyone wants to pass that along! I would even write a blog about my experiences with it.