Many organizations, including the NFL and the NFLPA, have voiced support for CTE Center research and encourage athletes to participate when possible. Recently, when asked if league officials’ thinking has evolved, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league has “embraced research, embraced technology when it comes to the safety of our players. We always believe in getting better. We’re encouraging players to work with Dr. Cantu and all of the folks at Boston University.”
In 2014, a cooperative grant from the National Institute of Heath (NIH) – bolstered by major funding from the National Football League (NFL) – was awarded to Dr. McKee and her research team. TheUNITE study (Understanding Neurologic Injury and Traumatic Encephalopathy) is a retrospective analysis of, professional and amateur athletes, Veterans and other individuals who sustained cumulative repetitive traumatic brain injury(s) (TBI) before passing away.
pathological research is the bedrock of the study of disease. The CTE Center neuropathologists study brain and spinal cord tissue of former athletes to better understand the cause, progression, and characteristics of the disease.
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CTE Clinical Studies
The CTE Center conducts and supports research designed to identify genetic and environmental risk factors, diagnostic tests, treatment, and more.
The study focuses on examining the effects of repetitive head impacts (like one may receive playing some organized sports) in living people. Participants complete online questionnaires and talk with a member of our study staff once a year over the phone so we may gather information on concussions, athletic history, medical history, and cognitive functioning. Participants can also choose to provide a saliva sample for genetic analysis. The goal is to track our participants’ progress over time, so we can see who develops problems down the road and who does not.
This new project entitled Diagnostics, Imaging, And Genetics Network for the Objective Study and Evaluation (DIAGNOSE) of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is looking to develop diagnostic criteria for CTE. Dr. Stern is the contact PI (other PI’s are J. Cummings, E. Reiman, and M. Shenton) of this $16 million, multi-center, multi-disciplinary, 7-year grant to further his initial work on the development of in vivo biomarkers for CTE and clinical diagnostic criteria. This study is funded by the NIH/ NINDS and will begin recruitment in Summer 2016. Former NFL players, former college football players, and “control” participants between the ages of 45 and 74 will be recruited for examinations to be held at one of four locations (Boston, New York, Las Vegas, Scottsdale/Pheonix).
The CTE Center is affiliated with the Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center. To learn more about the CTE Center please click here.