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Massachusetts researchers study athletes with brain injuries

A study conducted by a Boston University researcher and others has shed new light on the symptoms experienced by people suffering from traumatic brain injuries. The study subjects were 36 deceased former athletes who were diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, which is a degenerative brain disease that sometimes develops in individuals who have experienced numerous traumatic head injuries, such as athletes or soldiers.

The primary purpose of the study was to identify symptoms that could be identified in people who have suffered traumatic brain injury that would indicate that they may also be at risk for developing CTE. Currently CTE can only be confirmed by examining the subjects brain after death. Researchers spoke with the families of deceased athletes who suffered traumatic brain injuries to get some insight into the behaviors they demonstrated as their CTE progressed.

Researchers found that CTE symptoms seemed to present in two distinct ways. Some subjects experienced marked changes in behavior and mood, and other subjects presented primarily cognitive deficits. The study found that two-thirds of the study subjects presented the changes in behavior and mood which indicated an earlier onset of symptoms and death at a younger age than the group with purely cognitive symptoms. Although further research is needed, the findings of the study could be an important step forward in identifying which athletes need to take decisive action in order to prevent further brain trauma which could lead to CTE.

Individuals who have experienced a debilitating brain injury resulting from the negligence of others often face many setbacks as they attempt to recover. Attorneys working in the area of personal injury may help clients learn more about their legal rights and help to create a strategy to pursue compensation for their losses.

Source: Medpage Today, "Behavior Changes Show Up Early in Traumatic Brain Injury", Charles Bankhead, August 21, 2013

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