Participate in Research

Matt Birk, NFL All-Pro Center
“It’s something that we don’t like to talk about as players because I think we’re afraid of what could happen to us years from now.  But what they were finding at Boston University was pretty eye-opening, so I wanted to do my part and help out. I think all of us as players should try to do whatever we can to help improve player safety for the guys who come after us.”
- Matt Birk, NFL All-Pro Center

Developing treatment and eventually a cure for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy takes research, and research takes volunteers. CTE Center offers multiple ways to participate in this research. Check back regularly as CTE Center launches more programs.

BRAIN DONATION REGISTRY

A registry of current and former athletes and military personnel who wish to donate their brain and spinal cord to the CTE Center after death. For more information on the brain donation registry, please contact Patrick Kiernan at 617-414-1187 or pkiernan@bu.edu. To learn more about the VA-BU-SLI Brain Bank follow this link, VA-BU-SLI Brain Bank.

LEGEND (Longitudinal Examination to Gather Evidence of Neurodegenerative Disease)

The LEGEND study is focused on examining the effects of repetitive brain trauma (like one may receive playing some organized sports) in a living person.  Participants complete online questionnaires and talk with a member of our study staff once a year 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 doesn’t.  The total time commitment for participants in the LEGEND study is about 2 hours for the first year, and about an hour and a half per year after that.  This groundbreaking study allows our team to understand and analyze both genetic and environmental risk factors for developing problems related to repetitive brain trauma in athletes.

Anybody with a history of athletic participation (at the youth, high school, collegiate, or professional level) may be eligible to participate.  Those interested in participating should contact the study coordinator, Shannon Conneely, at (617) 414-8389, or sconn@bu.edu

DETECT (Diagnosing and Evaluating Traumatic Encephalopathy Using Clinical Tests)

This study is the first research project on CTE ever funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), with support from the National Institute of Neurologic Diseases and Stroke (NINDS), the National Institute on Aging (NIA), and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). The ultimate goal of this study is to develop methods of diagnosing CTE during life through the use of a variety of tests, including MRI scans (such as diffusion tensor imaging), MRS scans (also known as a “virtual biopsy”), blood tests, and measures of proteins in spinal fluid. Participants will also undergo neurological, psychiatric, and cognitive assessments, as well as genetic testing. The study will include 150 former NFL players (ages 40-69) and 50 same-age “control” athletes who played non-contact sports. Recruitment will be starting in November 2011. For more information or if you are interested in participating please contact Shannon Conneely, Study Coordinator at  sconn@bu.edu.

VA-BU-SLI Brain Bank

Family members of deceased athletes may donate their loved one’s brain and spinal cord after their death to the VA-BU-SLI Brain Bank to be examined neuropathologically for evidence of CTE or other disorders of the central nervous system. The family member(s) will be interviewed for a history of their loved one, including their loved one’s athletic and concussion history, educational and occupational history, medical history and history of cognitive, behavioral, and mood symptoms. To learn more, please contact Patrick Kiernan at 617-414-1187 or pkiernan@bu.edu.

    To learn more about the brain bank follow this link, VA-BU-SLI Brain Bank.

    The CTE Center is also affiliated with the Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center