August 23, 2013

"Ronney Jenkins cannot be sure whether chronic traumatic encephalopathy is clawing through his brain tissue right now, but he suspects that it is."

So begins a CNN medical news report about football and brain damage.
"I'd be talking to a cousin of mine, disagree with him, and I'd just want to do something to him," Jenkins said. "I don't know why I had those thoughts, but I wanted to hurt him."

Jenkins cannot shake the feeling that these and other symptoms he has add up to CTE, but he will never be sure. The only way to diagnose CTE is after death -- by analyzing brain tissue and finding microscopic clumps of an abnormal protein called tau.


Birches said...

In the giant media blow up of CTE, we've convinced former athletes they are a walking time bomb, which may or may not be all in their head.


fivewheels said...

I have been starting to fear that the CTE researchers have fallen into advocacy and away from science. That feeling began when Chris Henry -- a chronic domestic abuser and all-around lawbreaker with many arrests -- died and the folks at the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy said CTE probably made him a criminal. It sounds perilously close to liberal mumbo-jumbo about root causes and such, the kind of thinking that looks for excuses rather than real answers.

It's also a concern that the people who are touting the rise and ubiquity of CTE are the very ones who will literally profit from further attention to the idea.

What would turn me around, what would convince me that this isn't happening, is the one time the Center gets a brain from someone like Dave Duerson after his suicide, they study it, and then announce: Nope, that brain showed no signs of CTE. As far as I know, that has never happened, which makes me very suspicious.