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Signs of Brain Damage Show Up in Scans of Living, Retired NFL Players
Date:1/22/2013

e know NFL players have a fourfold greater likelihood of dying from Alzheimer's disease than people in the general population."

He said the ability to detect tau in living players "offers us the hope that we can identify individuals before there's a lot of symptoms and try to protect the healthy brain rather than try to repair damage once it's done."

However, with little effective treatment available to treat Alzheimer's, the value of having that early knowledge might be unclear.

"While we're waiting for science to catch up, we've done a lot of research in the area of healthy lifestyles to protect the brain -- physical and aerobic conditioning, proper diet, stress management," Small said. "For people with memory problems, learning ways to compensate for their cognitive decline is very important."

More information

Visit the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy to learn more about chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

SOURCES: Gary W. Small, M.D., Parlow-Solomon Professor on Aging, professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, and director, UCLA Longevity Center; Howard Derman, M.D., medical director, Methodist Concussion Center, Houston; Jan. 22 2013, American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, online


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