Sumary of Brain scans of athletes exposed to repetitive head impacts show white matter hyperintensities:
- Certain markers of injury to the brain’s white matter, called white matter hyperintensities, can be seen on brain scans.
- A new study finds that brain scans taken during the lifetimes of athletes in contact sports, compared to changes in their brains at autopsy, showed that white matter hyperintensities were associated with neuropathological changes.
- The study also found that white matter hyperintensities were more common in athletes who played contact sports longer or had more head impacts during their careers.
- White matter hyperintensities are areas that appear bright on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.
- Our results are exciting because they show that white matter hyperintensities might capture long-term harm to the brain in people who have a history of repetitive head impacts.
- White matter hyperintensities on MRI may indeed be an effective tool to study the effects of repetitive head impacts on the brain’s white matter while the athlete is still alive.
- All donated their brains to research after their death in order to advance research into the long-term effects of repetitive head impacts.
- CTE is a neurodegenerative disease associated with repetitive head impacts, including those from football, that can progress to dementia.