Clinical Research


Head Impact & Trauma Surveillance Study (HITSS)

The Head Impact & Trauma Surveillance Study (HITSS) was developed to answer questions about risks of developing later life brain health issues from repetitive head impacts in contact sports. The study is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Participation is a fully-online survey that includes questionnaires on sports participation, medical history and behavior and mood, and brain games. It only takes approximately two hours to complete, and can be completed at any time and over several days, if desired. Participants are then asked to take a follow up assessment online one year later.

CURRENTLY ENROLLING: Anyone aged 40 or older who played soccer or tackle football at any level – youth, high school, college or pro/elite.

To learn more or to participate visit Contact HITSS at or (617) 358-6864 or contact Matt Roebuck at with any questions.


Stunt Performance Research Investigating Neurological Trauma (SPRINT) Study

The Laboratory for Science and Health in Artistic Performance at Ohio University and the Boston University CTE Center are working with stunt performer communities to undertake an important, groundbreaking research project to help stunt performers.

Stunt performers are crucial to the success of motion picture and television productions. They are regarded as professional athletes in their field; thus, for their long-term health and wellness, stunt performers should receive the same type of attention, healthcare, and research that sports athletes receive. We strongly suspect that stunt performers also may suffer from CTE because of the head trauma, whiplash actions, and body impacts that occur throughout their careers.

As a research group, we are firmly committed to advocating for stunt performers’ well-being. This is why we want to explore the possibility of CTE in the stunt performing community. Participating in this research provides an opportunity for current performers to play an important role in the reduction of risk and treatment of head injuries for future stunt performing generations.

How you can help: 1) Consider donating your brain to this research upon your passing, and 2) Inform your family about your wishes


For more information or to enroll, please contact Madeline Uretsky at or + 1 (617) 358-6027.


Health Outreach Program for the Elderly (HOPE) Program Extension

We are recruiting participants with a history of contact sports to help us understand how repetitive head impacts affect a person’s risk of developing later-life neurologic disorders.

CURRENTLY ENROLLING: Contact sport athletes – both men & women.

Learn More Here. To participate, please contact Hannah Bruce at or 617-358-6545 with any questions.


Project S.A.V.E.

S.A.V.E. stands for Study of Axonal and Vascular Effects from repetitive head impacts. The major goal of this study is to determine how repeated head impacts from playing contact sports can lead to long-term thinking, memory, and mood problems. The results of this study could inform on strategies to treat and prevent symptoms associated with head impacts from contact sports. Participation includes: a 1-2 day study visit at either Boston University or the University of California, San Francisco. Each visit will consist of an advanced MRI of the brain; neurological, cognitive, self-report mood and behavior exams; blood samples; and an optional lumbar puncture. Participants will return annually. 

CURRENTLY ENROLLING: Men and women age 50 or older who played 5+ years of a contact sport, including American football, ice hockey, soccer, lacrosse, boxing, full contact martial arts, rugby, and wrestling.

To participate in Boston, please call (617) 358-6545 or email

To participate in San Francisco, please email Karen Smith at 


Focused Imaging for the Neurodegenerative Disease Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (FIND-CTE)

The major goal of this research project is to develop methods of diagnosing CTE during life, so that interventions can be developed to help those affected by this disease. This research study is not designed to provide a diagnosis or treatment to participants. Participation will include study visits at one of the two study sites for the FIND-CTE evaluation which includes two positron emission tomography (PET) scans; as well as an Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center evaluation including neurological, cognitive, self-report mood and behavior exams; advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans; and a collection of blood samples. 

CURRENTLY ENROLLING: Former NFL players between the ages of 45 and 74. 

Boston area: For more information or to find out if you are eligible to participate, email Julia Culhane at Boston University at 

San Francisco area: For more information or to find out if you are eligible to participate, email Karen Smith at the University of CA, San Francisco at 


DIAGNOSE CTE Research Project

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 Spring 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/Phoenix).


Visit the DIAGNOSE CTE Research Project website or contact Mary Nanna at or 617-358-5443 for more information.


LEGEND (Longitudinal Examination to Gather Evidence of Neurodegenerative Disease) Study

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.


Learn More Here. Please contact Hannah Bruce at or 617-358-6545 with any questions.


DETECT (Diagnosing and Evaluating Traumatic Encephalopathy Using Clinical Tests) Study

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.


Please contact Hannah Bruce at or 617-358-6545 with any questions.

Travel for the DETECT study is being sponsored in part by JetBlue and the NFL Players Association.


Research & Academic Articles

1. Stern RA, Daneshvar DH, Baugh CM, Seichepine DR, Montenigro PH, Riley DO, Fritts NG, Stamm JM, Robbins CA, McHale L, Simkin I, Stein TD, Alvarez VE, Goldstein LE, Budson AE, Kowall NW, Nowinski CJ, Cantu RC, McKee AC. Clinical presentation of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Neurology. 2013 Aug 21.

2. Mez J, Solomon T, Daneshvar D, Murphy L, Kiernan P, Montenigro P, Kriegel J, Abdolmohammadi B, Fry B, Babcock K, Adams J, Bourlas A, Papadopoulos Z, McHale L, Ardaugh B, Martin B, Dixon D, Nowinski C, Cjaisson C, Alvarez V, Tripodis Y, Stein T, Goldstein L, Katz D, Kowall N, Cantu R, Stern R, McKee A. Assessing clinicopathological correlation in chronic traumatic encephalopathy: rationale & methods for the UNITE study. Alzheimers Res Ther. 2015 Oct 12;7(1):62. doi: 10.1186/s13195-015-0148-8.

3. Mez J, Solomon TM, Daneshvar DH, Stein TD, McKee AC. Pathologically confirmed chronic traumatic encephalopathy in a 25 year old former college football player. JAMA Neurology, 2016, Jan 4:1-3. doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2015.3998.

4. Montenigro PH, Alosco ML, Martin B, Daneshvar DH, Mez J, Chaisson C, Nowinski CJ, Au R, McKee AC, Cantu RC, McClean MD, Stern RA, Tripodis Y. Cumulative Head Impact Exposure Predicts Later-Life Depression, Apathy, Executive Dysfunction, and Cognitive Impairment in Former High School and College Football Players. J Neurotrauma. 2016.

5. Alosco M, Mez J, Kowall N, Stein T, Goldstein L, Cantu R, Katz D, Solomon T, Kiernan P, Murphy L, Abdolmohammadi B, Daneshvar Daniel, Montenigro P, Nowinski J, Stern R, McKee AC. Cognitive Reserve as a Modifier of Clinical Expression in Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy: A Preliminary Examination, J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2017 Winter; 29(1):6-12. doi: 10.1176/appi.neuropsych.16030043.