October 27, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Contact: Gina M. DiGravio, 617-638-8480, gina.digravio@bmc.org

Experts to testify on public health crisis

Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine’s (BUSM) Center for the Study Traumatic Encephalopathy (CSTE), will testify before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee on the NFL head injury crisis.

Robert Cantu, MD, co-director of CSTE, clinical professor of neurosurgery at BUSM
Chris Nowinski: former division I football player and co-director of CSTE
Ann McKee, MD, co-director of the CSTE and BUSM neuropathologist

Cantu, McKee, and Nowinski along with the other co-director of the BUSM CSTE, Robert Stern, PhD, have been at the forefront of the concussion crisis.  The researchers have studied former and NFL and college football players postmortem and who have all shown signs of CTE.  CTE can only be diagnosed by examining brain tissue post mortem. CTE eventually progresses to full-blown dementia.  Although similar to Alzheimer’s disease, CTE is an entirely distinct disease.

Brain trauma is a serious public health problem according to CSTE researchers. Participants in a variety of contact sports such as football, soccer, lacrosse, boxing, rugby, and hockey are at increased risk for degenerative brain disease caused by multiple concussions. Over the last two years there has been a 40 percent increase in recognized cases of CTE.

The BUSM CSTE was created in 2008 as a collaborative venture between Boston University School of Medicine and Sports Legacy Institute (SLI). It conducts state-of-the-art research of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), including its neuropathology and pathogenesis, the clinical presentation and course, the genetics and other risk factors for CTE, and ways of preventing this cause of dementia. As a leader in CTE research, the Center most recently announced that a deceased former college football player who died at age 42 was already suffering from the degenerative brain disease CTE. This was the first time an advanced case of CTE had been discovered in a college football player that did not play professionally. CTE has been diagnosed post-mortem in at least seven recently deceased former National Football League players, and early signs of the disease were recently found by CSTE researchers in an 18 year-old deceased football player.

Wednesday 10/28/2009 – 10:00 A.M.

2141 Rayburn House Office Building,
U.S. House of Representatives