This easily applies to anyone who has repeated blows to the head. Most battered women, if not all, are being struck in the head or having their head smashed into walls or floors. Even if you don't end up in the hospital with a serious concussion, you may have a mild concussion. This research shows that even those milder concussions are doing damage. The damage doesn't show up in MRIs or CT scans, but in this study they examined brain tissue of deceased athletes and saw extensive damage. Some of the symptoms of that damage were sleep disorders, depression, headaches, and memory problems. They call the disorder chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
So far six out of six brains of former NFL players show the disorder. The youngest case was an 18 year old who already had the beginnings of brain damage. Think about it, our high school kids who play vigorous sports who get their heads knocked around may be getting brain damage. Researchers were shocked to find damage deep inside, not just on the surface.
This was particularly chilling for me to read because I have the surface evidence of damage--leading me to believe I may very well have some additional damage that wasn't seen on the MRI.
I've written to the Sports Legacy Institute and suggested they expand their research to include people who've survived repeated domestic assault. All one has to do is donate their brain to the project. I plan to donate my organs and be cremated anyway, so I'd be happy to sign up. At least my family can get some answers.
Until recently, the best medical definition for concussion was a jarring blow to the head that temporarily stunned the senses, occasionally leading to unconsciousness. It has been considered an invisible injury, impossible to test -- no MRI, no CT scan can detect it.
But today, using tissue from retired NFL athletes culled posthumously, the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy (CSTE), at the Boston University School of Medicine, is shedding light on what concussions look like in the brain. The findings are stunning. Far from innocuous, invisible injuries, concussions confer tremendous brain damage. That damage has a name: chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
... CSTE studies reveal brown tangles flecked throughout the brain tissue of former NFL players who died young -- some as early as their 30s or 40s.
McKee, who also studies Alzheimer's disease, says the tangles closely resemble what might be found in the brain of an 80-year-old with dementia.
"I knew what traumatic brain disease looked like in the very end stages, in the most severe cases," said McKee. "To see the kind of changes we're seeing in 45-year-olds is basically unheard of."
The damage affects the parts of the brain that control emotion, rage, hypersexuality, even breathing, and recent studies find that CTE is a progressive disease that eventually kills brain cells.
... "Really my main reason even for talking about this is to help the guys who are already retired," said Johnson. "[They] are getting divorced, going bankrupt, can't work, are depressed, and don't know what's wrong with them. [It is] to give them a name for it so they can go get help."
"The idea that you can whack your head hundreds of times in your life and knock yourself out and get up and be fine is gone," said Nowinski. "We know we can't do that anymore. This causes long-term damage."