Is there a connection between contact sports and brain disease?

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gq-brain-injury-football.jpgI recently came across the article, "Brain disease is linked to routine hits in contact sports, study finds." The article give little information about the research, a study with many holes in it, and led readers to believe that the research was conclusive, when really it was not.

Researchers from Boston University studied post-death brain samples from 85 people, ages 17 to 98, who had subjected themselves to repetitive mild traumatic brain injury such as concussions throughout their lives, comparing them to the brains of those without such a history (the control group).

The findings, recently published in the journal Brain, showed that nearly 80 percent of all the people with repetitive hits to the head showed evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a condition that results in gradual degradation of brain tissue.

This study lacks validity because it does not prove that "repetitive mild traumatic brain injuries" took place on the field. All it shows is that if you have routine severe head injuries in your life, you are more likely to develop CTE. Another problem I found with this study was the age range of the participants. Shouldn't there be a difference between a 17 year old brain and a 98 year old brain? And is that how all of the participants died--because of head trauma? The study seems invalid. There sample was only 85 brains, which is quite small in the research world.

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This page contains a single entry by wolfx450 published on December 5, 2012 8:05 AM.

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