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Study Links Repetitive Head Injuries and CTE
TreatNOW Coalition --  Concussion Protocol Experts TreatNOW Coalition -- Concussion Protocol Experts
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Arlington, VA
Wednesday, February 15, 2023


Review Strengthens Evidence that Repetitive Head Impacts Can Cause Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)

This article is reproduced to draw attention to a salient fact in efforts to diagnose and treat brain wounds. Dr. Chris Nowinski has remarked about the findings that “Not giving players proper medical care for a brain injury is unethical [here].” Unsurprisingly, vast sums are being spent on predictable next steps: “Next step would be developing a drug to slow the development of CTE once detected.” It is TreatNOW’s position that the brain wounding that may lead to CTE can be healed long before CTE develops. Yet another drug to treat symptoms in the short, medium, and long-term may not be the most efficient use of national resources, particularly when Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy can help heal the brain wound early.


Review Strengthens Evidence That Repetitive Head Impacts Can Cause CTE

Featured Neurology Neuroscience
February 10, 2023

Summary: Study confirms that repeated head injuries, concussions, and traumatic brain injury are the chief risk factors for the development of CTE. Source: Boston University

During the past 17 years, there has been a remarkable increase in scientific research concerning chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) with researchers at the BU CTE Center at the forefront.

While some sports organizations like the National Hockey League and World Rugby still claim their sports do not cause CTE, a new review of the evidence by the world’s leading CTE expert strengthens the case that repetitive head impact (RHI) exposure is the chief risk factor for the condition.

CTE became national news in the United States in 2007, but it wasn’t until 2016 that the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke/National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NINDS-NIBIB) criteria for the neuropathological diagnosis of CTE were published, and they were refined in 2021.

Rare, isolated case studies reporting aberrant findings or using non-accepted diagnostic criteria have been disproportionately emphasized to cast doubt on the connection between RHI and CTE.

In a review article in the journal Acta Neuropathologica [here], Ann McKee, MD, chief of neuropathology at VA Boston Healthcare System and director of the BU CTE Center, stresses that now over 600 CTE cases have been published in the literature from multiple international research groups. And of those over 600 cases, 97 percent have confirmed exposure to RHI, primarily through contact and collision sports.

CTE has been diagnosed in amateur and professional athletes, including athletes from American, Canadian, and Australian football, rugby union, rugby league, soccer, ice hockey, bull-riding, wrestling, mixed-martial arts, and boxing.

What’s more, 82 percent (14 of the 17) of the purported CTE cases that occurred in the absence of RHI, where up-to-date criteria were used, the study authors disclosed that families were never asked what sports the decedent played. 

According to the researchers, despite global efforts to find CTE in the absence of contact sport participation or RHI exposure, it appears to be extraordinarily rare, if it exists at all. “In studies of community brain banks, CTE has been seen in 0 to 3 percent of cases, and where the information is available, positive cases were exposed to brain injuries or RHI.

In contrast, CTE is the most common neurodegenerative disease diagnosis in contact and collision sport athletes in brain banks around the world. A strong dose response relationship is perhaps the strongest evidence that RHI is causing CTE in athletes,” she added.

“The review presents the timeline for the development of neuropathological criteria for the diagnosis of CTE which was begun nearly 100 years ago by pathologist Harrison Martland who introduced the term “punch-drunk” to describe a neurological condition in prizefighters,” explained McKee, corresponding author of the study.

The review chronologically describes the multiple studies conducted by independent, international groups investigating different populations that found CTE pathology in individuals with a history of RHI from various sources.”

CTE is characterized by a distinctive molecular structural configuration of p-tau fibrils that is unlike the changes observed with aging, Alzheimer’s disease, or any other diseases caused by tau protein.

Funding: Funding for this research was provided by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (U54NS115266; R01NS119651; U01 NS 086659), National Institute on Aging (P30AG13846; U19AG06875; R01AG062348; RF1AG057902; K01AG070326), Department of Veterans Affairs (101BX002466, 101BX004613, BX004349), the Nick and Lynn Buoniconti Foundation, Andlinger Foundation, National Football League (NFL) and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) through unrestricted gifts, the Mac Parkman Foundation, and the National Operating Committee on Safety for Sports Equipment (NOCSEA).


The TreatNOW Coalition’s Mission is to end service member suicides. Service members suicides have once again increased, continuing a fifteen year trend. Coalition clinics have demonstrated 100% safety and over 90% success in treating over 21,000 service members, Special Operators, first responders, athletes and citizens with TBI/PTSD/Concussion.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is used around the world to extend and improve quality of life by augmenting the treatment of all injuries, diseases and infections, as well as to improve overall wellness. HBOT involves breathing 100% oxygen in a pressurized chamber to increase oxygen levels in blood plasma. A century of clinical research has shown that increased oxygen in plasma accelerates our natural ability to heal through neurogenesis, angiogenesis, pain reduction, anti-inflammation, and stem cell generation.

The information provided by TreatNOW.org does not constitute a medical recommendation. It is intended for informational purposes only, and no claims, either real or implied, are being made. If you or anyone you know is contemplating suicide, please immediately contact the new ###: 988 or the old Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1)

Key Words:  Special Operators, veterans, suicide, athletesbrain healthblast injurybrain injurybrain woundChronic Traumatic Encephalopathyconcussionconcussion protocolConcussion SymptomsCTEHBOTHyperbaric Oxygen therapyTBITBItreatmenttraumatic brain injury, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD

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