Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study casts doubt on theory that retired NFL players suffer CTE

Date:
January 27, 2014
Source:
Loyola University Health System
Summary:
The media have widely reported that a debilitating neurological condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a well-established disease in retired athletes who played football and other contact sports. But a study has found little evidence that CTE actually exists.

The media have widely reported that a debilitating neurological condition called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a well-established disease in retired athletes who played football and other contact sports.

But a study by a Loyola University Medical Center neuropsychologist has found little evidence that CTE actually exists.

"There has not yet been one controlled epidemiological study looking at the risk of late-life cognitive impairment in any collision sport, including boxing, American football or other sports involving repetitive head trauma," said Christopher Randolph, PhD, in the journal Current Sports Medicine Reports.

CTE is said to be the cause of behavioral symptoms such as anger, aggression and suicidality, and cognitive symptoms such as impaired learning and memory problems. CTE is thought to be linked to concussions and characterized by the buildup of abnormal substances in the brain called tau proteins.

A 2005 study, co-authored by Randolph, reported that rates of mild cognitive impairment among retired NFL players seemed to be higher than that of the general population. But Randolph noted there were no controls in this study and results may have been subject to reporting bias.

A more recent study of retired NFL players found that rates of Alzheimer's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease) were higher than that of the general population. But this may be due to the fact that the NFL players had lower overall mortality rates from heart disease and other causes. Since they lived longer, the players naturally would be more likely to get age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.

In addition to having much lower overall mortality rates than the general population, retired NFL players are only 40 percent as likely to die of suicide as men in the general population, according to a 2012 study. It is difficult to reconcile this finding with the high rate of suicide that is said to be a key feature of CTE.

"Overall, although retired NFL players have been the focus of more attention into the potential late-life neurological consequences of repetitive head trauma than athletes in any other sport, the risks for these retirees remains largely hypothetical," Randolph wrote.

The list of symptoms that have been associated with CTE "is so broad as to be essentially meaningless in any attempt to define a clinical syndrome," Randolph wrote. Some of these symptoms are found in the healthy population, while other symptoms have been observed in a variety of neurological diseases. The broad range of CTE symptoms includes attention problems, paranoia, executive impairment, suicidality, memory loss, language impairment, visuospatial impairment, apathy, gait disturbance, dysarthria (speech disorder), Parkinsonism, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, headache, depression, impulsivity, explosivity and aggression.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Loyola University Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kimmo J. Hatanpaa, Jack M. Raisanen, Emily Herndon, Dennis K. Burns, Chan Foong, Amyn A. Habib, Charles L. White. Hippocampal Sclerosis in Dementia, Epilepsy, and Ischemic Injury. Journal of Neuropathology & Experimental Neurology, 2014; 73 (2): 136 DOI: 10.1097/OPX.0000000000000170

Cite This Page:

Loyola University Health System. "Study casts doubt on theory that retired NFL players suffer CTE." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140127141904.htm>.
Loyola University Health System. (2014, January 27). Study casts doubt on theory that retired NFL players suffer CTE. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140127141904.htm
Loyola University Health System. "Study casts doubt on theory that retired NFL players suffer CTE." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140127141904.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) California lawmakers pass a bill requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on campuses. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Drug Could Reduce Cardiovascular Deaths

New Drug Could Reduce Cardiovascular Deaths

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) The new drug from Novartis could reduce cardiovascular deaths by 20 percent compared to other similar drugs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins