I Played Youth Football For Years, What Will They Find in My Brain?

“Parents have a really hard decision to make, and they can’t say the science is there yet to make an easy decision based on just one study,” Robert Stern, a senior author on the study, told the Boston Globe. “At the same time, there is growing research on the effect of football on the brain, and we can’t ignore it. I’m at a point where I feel comfortable saying that, based on logic and common sense and the growing totality of the research, I don’t think kids should be playing tackle football.” Click Here for the full article on Esquire.

New York Times: Playing Tackle Football Before 12 is Tied to Brain Problems Later

Highlight: Still, the findings are yet more evidence that have contributed to an existential crisis for the game, from youth leagues to the N.F.L. Pop Warner, the most established youth football organization in the country, has reduced the amount of contact in practice – where the majority of head hits occur – and changed game rules, including banning kickoffs, one of the most dangerous plays in the game.

Click Here to read the full New York Times story.

Here & Now: Football Can Damage Kids' Brains- Even If They Don't Get Concussions

Highlight: "In this case, they had a range of mood and behavior problems, and what we call executive dysfunction, or problems with initiating and planning, organization. So we weren't looking at the brain, per se, in this study. We've done that in the past with another study looking at this age of starting to play where we actually had brain scans. But in this case it was just how are they functioning, what are their symptoms like as adults?

"And the answer is that these folks who started to play tackle football before age 12 had a threefold increased odds of having clinically meaningful depression symptoms and twofold clinically meaningful apathy and behavioral dysregulation, meaning not being able to control their behaviors and their impulses, as well as self-reported difficulties with this executive functioning."

Listen to the full interview Here.

CTE Investigators Launch $16 Million Study

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Last Wednesday and Thursday Boston University School of Medicine hosted the first Annual Investigator Meeting for the DIAGNOSE CTE Research Project. We welcomed nearly 50 investigators from around the country for two days of discussion and collaboration. BU Today summarizes the event in a recent piece.

Read the full article HERE

Second Annual Carlos Kase Research Symposium

“Drs. McKee and Stern have steadily contributed to the department’s research enterprise over the years, through their work in the NIH-funded Alzheimer’s Disease Center, where they have both played an essential role in generating a number of clinical and pathology studies, in training and mentoring young scientists, and in contributing to the education of medical students, residents, and fellows.”

For the full article, click HERE

Unraveling Alzheimer's Disease: The Search for a Treatment

At Boston University, dozens of researchers are looking for tests that could lead to early diagnosis and interventions to prevent or delay the disease, running clinical trials that may result in treatments and an eventual cure, working to understand genetic risk factors, and studying Alzheimer’s impact on caregivers.

The Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center, established in 1996, is one of 31 such centers nationwide funded by the National Institutes of Health and dedicated to conducting research into the disease, enhancing clinical care, and providing education.

In this special report, BU Today examines the work of five BU researchers.

Read the full article HERE

NPR's Radio Boston Interview with Dr. Stern and ESPN's Steve Fainaru About the New CTE Grant

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Excerpt:

"In 2012, the National Football League announced that it would contribute $30 million dollars to fund research on the effects of concussions on football players. Boston University was to receive much of that grant. Now, ESPN is reporting that the NFL is backing out of that commitment, after taking issue with the BU study’s lead researcher, Dr. Robert Stern."

Listen to the full segment HERE

Boston University: NIH/ NINDS Grant Award

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Boston University: Press release to congratulate Dr. Stern and award recipients on NIH/NINDS grant!

Excerpt:

"Researchers from Boston University, the Cleveland Clinic, Banner Alzheimer’s Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, have been awarded a $16 million* grant from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH/NINDS). This seven-year, multi-center grant will be used to create methods for detecting and diagnosing chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) during life as well as examining risk factors for CTE."

Click HERE for the full press release

Grant of Nearly $16 million for C.T.E. Researchers

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Excerpt:

“There are so many critical unanswered questions about C.T.E.,” Robert Stern, the lead principal investigator and a professor of neurology, neurosurgery and anatomy and neurobiology at Boston University School of Medicine, said in a statement. “We are optimistic that this project will lead to many of these answers, by developing accurate methods of detecting and diagnosing C.T.E. during life, and by examining genetic and other risk factors for this disease.”

Click HERE for the full story

STAT: New Study Will Examine NFL Players' Brains in Bid to Spot Early Signs of Damage

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Excerpt:

The new grant will fund research in 17 centers across the country. One of the principal investigators is Robert Stern, director of clinical research at Boston University’s Alzheimer’s Disease and CTE Center. In October, Stern concluded a study, known as DETECT, that examined approximately 100 former NFL players to advance understanding of CTE. Stern described the new initiative as “the DETECT study on steroids.”

Read the full story HERE

60 Minutes: Football and the Brain

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Excerpt:

"If you are one of the millions of people who watched football before this broadcast -- many of you on this network -- you know that NFL players get their brains rattled on a weekly basis and for some of them the long-term consequences may eventually offset the glory of playing the game. After a decade of denying a link between onfield concussions and brain impairment later in life, the NFL finally acknowledged the connection and is now trying to reengineer the sport to fit the medical science. It's changing the rules, trying to reinvent equipment and funding scientific research that might endanger its future both as the country's most popular sport and as a multibillion-dollar industry. Not since football was nearly banned a hundred years ago has the sport been under the microscope the way it is today and all of it has to do with matters of the brain."

Watch the segment HERE

Science Friday: Is football bad for your brain?

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Excerpt:

"The conversation about football and the future of the sport seems inextricably linked to concussions. Take former San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland’s decision to leave the National Football League after his rookie season, citing fear of brain damage from repetitive head trauma, for example, or the fact that 50 percent of Americans say they don’t want their sons to pick up the sport."

Trauma Test: Concussions in Athletes

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Dr. Stern weighs in on up and coming research that could have a positive impact on safety in athletics, a topic that has been building as it is seen in professional athletes as well as student athletes. Dr. Stern and Kevin Hrusovsky, CEO of Quanterix, talk about the importance of this research and the importance a test like this could have.

Watch the full video HERE