HEAD INJURY = DEMENTIA

A colleague of Dan and myself, Richard Serpe, practices injury law in the Norfolk Virginia area. Today, he shared the following story (read it yourself on Richrad’s website and blog here)

Earlier this year, Boston University School of medicine researchers as reported by CNN and other news outlets found extensive brain damage in six deceased former National Football League players.

The study also found the initial stages of the degenerative condition, known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), in an 18-year-old athlete who had suffered multiple concussions.

According to medical researchers at BU’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, CTE is a progressive neurodegenerative disease caused by repetitive trauma to the brain. The condition characterized by the build-up of a toxic protein called tau in the form of neurofibrillary tangles and neuropil threads throughout the brain.

CTE sufferers may display clinical symptoms such as memory impairment, emotional instability, erratic behavior, depression and problems with impulse control. However, the condition eventually progresses to full-blown dementia.

Dr. Ann McKee, the center’s co-director, said that “what’s been surprising is that [CTE] is so extensive. It’s throughout the brain, not just on the superficial aspects of the brain, but deep inside.” Dr. McKee also suggested that the tangles closely resemble what might be found in the brain of an elderly person suffering Alzheimer’s-related dementia.

The NFL is apparently conducting its own inquiry into the long-term effects of repetitive brain injuries. And according to Fox Sports, the league now levies fines and suspensions toward those who commit illegal helmet-to-helmet hits. It has also tightened the medical rules about allowing players with in-game concussions to re-take the field.

I have a close family friend that suffered a severe head injury just a few years before getting early onset Alzheimer’s Disease. This is a scary link… So for our friends witha History of head injuries, please be aware.

Lauren Ellerman

Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at lellerman@frithlawfirm.com.