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Disease Caused by Repeat Brain Trauma in Athletes May Affect Memory, Mood, Behavior

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Disease Caused by Repeat Brain Trauma in Athletes May Affect Memory, Mood, Behavior

New research suggests that chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a brain disease associated with repeat brain trauma including concussions in athletes, may affect people in two major ways: initially affecting behavior or mood or initially affecting memory and thinking abilities.

 

The study appears in the August 21, 2013, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. CTE has been found in amateur and professional athletes, members of the military and others who experienced repeated head injuries, including concussions and subconcussive trauma.


"This is the largest study to date of the clinical presentation and course of CTE in autopsy-confirmed cases of the disease," said study author Robert A. Stern, PhD, a professor of neurology and neurosurgery at Boston University School of Medicine. "However, the overall number of cases in the study is still small and there may be more variations in CTE than described here."


For the study, scientists examined the brains of 36 male athletes, ages 17 to 98, diagnosed with CTE after death, and who had no other brain disease, such as Alzheimer's. The majority of the athletes had played amateur or professional football, with the rest participating in hockey, wrestling or boxing.


The participants' family members were interviewed about the athletes' life and medical history, specifically dementia, changes in thinking, memory, behavior, mood, motor skills or ability to carry out daily living tasks. Researchers also reviewed the athletes' medical records.


A total of 22 of the athletes had behavior and mood problems as their first symptoms of CTE, while 11 had memory and thinking problems as their first symptoms. Three of the athletes did not show any symptoms of CTE at the time of death.


Those with behavior and mood problems experienced symptoms at a younger age, with the first symptom appearing at an average age of 35, compared to an average age of 59 for those with memory and thinking problems.


Almost all people in the mood/behavior group, or 91 percent, experienced symptoms of memory and thinking decline at some point, but fewer in the cognition group experienced mood and behavior symptoms throughout their disease, with 55 percent experiencing behavior symptoms and 64 percent experiencing mood symptoms at some point.

References and further information

This article was originally produced by Science Daily.

 

To read the rest of the article, visit the Science Daily website.  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130821170100.htm

 

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