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Concussions again found to cause permanent brain damage

The evidence continues to mount concerning the permanent brain damage that takes place as a result of concussions.

Yesterday, Neurosurgeon Julian Bailes and California medical examiner Bennet Omalu, co-directors of the Brain Injury Research Institute at WVU, publicly announced their findings concerning the brain of Cincinnati Begals receiver Chris Henry who passed away in December after falling off the back of a truck.

The physicians who have been looking at pathological changes in the brains of deceased athletes found that Henry suffered from a chronic brain injury that may have influenced his mental state and behavior before he died last winter.

The doctors had done a microscopic tissue analysis of Henry's brain that showed he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy. This condition is caused by repeated head injury and resembles Alzheimer’s disease.

Bailes and fellow researchers believe chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, is caused by multiple head impacts, regardless of whether those blows result in a concussion diagnosis. A number of studies, including one commissioned by the NFL, have found that retired professional football players may have a higher rate than normal of Alzheimer's disease and other memory problems.

What's interesting, Bailes said, is that Henry was only 26, and neither NFL nor WVU records show he was diagnosed with a concussion during his playing career.

CTE carries specific neurobehavioral symptoms, Bailies said — typically, failure at personal and business relationships, use of drugs and alcohol, depression and suicide.

You can read the full story in USA  Today by clicking here.

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