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More Proof of Link Between Head Injury, Brain Disease: Study

A new study provides further proof of a link between head injury and long-term, degenerative brain disease.

Researchers analyzed brain samples from 85 athletes, military veterans and others who suffered repeated head trauma during their lives. Eighty percent (68) of them had evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive and incurable brain disorder that includes symptoms such as memory loss, depression and dementia, The New York Timesreported.

Among those found to have CTE were 50 were football players, including 33 who played in the NFL. There were also seven pro boxers, four professional hockey players, and 21 military veterans, many of whom were also athletes, according to the study in the journal Brain.

The four-year study was conducted by investigators at the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy and the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, in collaboration with the Sports Legacy Institute, The Timesreported.

The study more than doubled the documented cases of CTE and the researchers also created a four-tiered system to classify degrees of CTE in the hope that it will help doctors treat patients.