Friday, August 14, 2009

The Tau (Protein) of Repetitive Head Injuries

Greg Miller has an interesting article in this week's Science magazine, where preliminary data is discussed that shows 12 out of 13 brains of former NFL players, as well as 4 former professional wrestlers' brains who all died in their 40s.... have all shown unusually large concentrations of tau proteins. Tau proteins, that are associated with Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. Yikes.

So the next time you're thinking about beating your head against a brick wall, head butting an opponent in hand-to-hand combat, running into a dolphin, or signing that permission slip for your little kid to play Pop Warner football, think about the tertiary effects once they reach their 40s and beyond. Sure, some with thicker skulls and unusually robust constitutions will over-come it, but I am not going assume I am in that 3rd standard deviation of the general population.

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