A recent study conducted by researchers at Boston University School of Medicine in Massachusetts suggests early signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) can develop after head trauma, even when concussion does not occur. According to the researchers, damage to small blood vessels in the brain can persist and spread after a head injury and may lead to CTE, a neurodegenerative disease that causes brain cell death, cognitive dysfunction, and dementia.
For this study, the BU researchers analyzed the brains of teenagers who had experienced closed-head injuries prior to death and the brains of mouse models subjected to simulated sports-related head impacts and military-related blast exposure. They also conducted laboratory experiments and computer modeling. Results of the study were published in Brain.
The researchers discovered no correlation between concussive signs at the time of injury and CTE brain pathology, the best evidence to date that head impacts are dangerous and linked to CTE.