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Athletes’ brains hint at dangers of hard hits

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Researchers at Boston University studying the brains of men with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) have for the first time described the four progressive stages of the illness.

The 68 brains came from men ages 17 to 98; 64 had been athletes (more than a third were also veterans), three were vets with no sports background, and one had repeatedly injured himself with head-banging. The youngest victims were six high school football players who developed CTE.

The researchers don’t know how much exposure to brain trauma might trigger CTE, though there’s no evidence that “occasional, isolated, or well-managed concussions” cause it, says co-author Robert Cantu, clinical professor of neurosurgery.

Full story at Futurity.

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