[리서치페이퍼=Cedric Dent 기자]
A research team at Boston University School of Medicine has just accomplished one of the most significant breakthroughs in medical science history.They have discovered a critical biomarker for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which ideally represents the first of many steps toward the ability to diagnose and even treat CTE among football players.It’s a neurodegenerative disease associated with football but it also affects other sports like soccer, and it’s a controversial issue that has directly impacted debates about adolescent sports in school due to the risks.
It has manifested in pop culture with voluminous social media trends and the 2015 film, Concussion, starring Will Smith in the nonfictional role of Dr.Bennet Omalu—a forensic pathologist from Africa known in the US for challenging the National Football League when the NFL attempted to stifle his CTE brain degeneration research.
A new report just confirmed the fears of many physicians to date, which is that concussions begin to manifest at a high rate among teen athletes, who play contact sports.It was published recently in the esteemed Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) as a research letter.Approximately 20 percent of teens that participated in the study reported having been diagnosed with a minimum of one concussion, and almost six percent of them reported having been diagnosed with more than one.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, concussions can yield nausea, headaches, and irritability.Even though most people don’t endure long-term damage from a concussion, experts estimate that somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of them might incur headaches, depression, or concentration complications.Some of them endure sleep problems, and it is well known that suffering multiple concussions can lead to CTE.
The authors of the research letter examined some 13,000 responses to their questionnaire from the 2016 edition of Monitoring the Future (MTF), an ongoing study of the attitudes, behaviors, and values of students of all ages in the US.Since 1975, Monitoring the Future has annually surveyed high school students nationwide about their attitudes and behaviors.Philip Veliz, one of the authors of the JAMA letter, is an assistant research professor at the Institute for Research on Women & Gender at the University of Michigan.Veliz said the survey added a question in 2016 about whether or not students had ever suffered concussions.
Concussion Center co-director Dennis Cardone, M.D., at New York University Langone Health, agrees with Veliz that knowing the rate of prevalence is critical to keeping an accurate track of the efficacy of safety efforts. “Now everybody is geared towards making sports safer, but…with the changes we are making, are we really making them safer?We need to look at the prevalence rates going forward,” Cardone said.The center collected MTF survey data on students from grades eight, 10, and 12.Additionally, 13 percent of respondents were Black, 37 percent were White, 19 percent were Hispanic, and another 21 percent marked “other” as their race.Respondents were split pretty evenly in terms of biological sex.
New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR) reports that “research keeps piling up about concussions and contact sports, especially football, and some parents are reconsidering whether to let their kids play the game.We discuss the latest research and its ramifications for parents, athletes, and athletic trainers.” They go on to list several significant observations to note in the CTE letter from the Boston University team. “Playing tackle football before age 12 exposes children to repetitive head impacts that may double their risk of developing behavioral problems and triple their chances of suffering depression later in life,” the local media group said. “The possible consequences include behavioral and mood impairments, such as depression and apathy.The younger players were when they started playing tackle football, the greater risk they faced of developing problems later in life.”
Dr.Ann McKee, the neuropathologist responsible for several of the most high-profile CTE diagnoses in the NFL, found the Boston letter particularly remarkable, referring to it as “the first ray of hope” in the interminable endeavor to comprehend CTE.
“To me, it feels like maybe now we can start going in the other direction,” McKee said. “We’ve been going down, and everything has just gotten more and more depressing.And now it’s like, ‘Yeah, we’re going to actually find some answers here.’” The Boston University research team collaborated with VA Boston Healthcare System to publish a thorough new study in the peer-reviewed journal, PLoS One.The study looked at the brains of 23 ex-football players who all received CTE diagnoses.
They also had 50 non-athletes suffering Alzheimer’s, and they controlled with 18 non-athletes who suffered no neurological damage.The elevated levels of a particular protein are being considered a biomarker for CTE, which would allow prevention and treatment research to take several steps forward because causal correlations can be investigated, since CTE can effectually be simulated now.