Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas and several universities will share millions of federal research dollars to develop new methods to diagnose Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in living patients .
Known as CTE, the degenerative brain disease has been linked to repeated head hits in contact sports.
The National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke issued the $16 million grant as part of a long-term study of former NFL and college football players.
“Our role is to recruit and study retired football players,” Dr. Charles Bernick, associate medical director at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, told KNPR’s State of Nevada. "In the whole study, there will be about 240 players participating. Here locally, we’ll be recruiting about a fourth of those.”
Bernick said he was hopeful researchers would “understand shy some individuals progress and get worse over time and thus may have CTE and others may not.” He told KNPR that researchers need to determine what the risk factors are.
“We know just getting hit in the head is not sufficient enough to cause the disease, there are other probable factors involved,” Bernick said.
Participants in the study will undergo extensive clinical examinations, as well as state of the art scans, advanced MRI scans, and blood tests. Bernick said the examinations will last for three years, and then repeated.
Dr. Charles Bernick, associate medical director, Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.
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