Charles Bernik, MD of the Cleveland Clinic thinks that there may be a correlation to repeated head trauma and a threshold of when degenerative brain disease begins, like CTE. An article appearing in Science Daily last week discusses this;
A new study suggests there may be a starting point at which blows to the head or other head trauma suffered in combat sports start to affect memory and thinking abilities and can lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, in the brain.
The study looked at 78 “fighters” and split them based on their years of experience, in this study the split was nine years. Those that had fought more than nine years showed significant changes in memory and the other areas being studied in the research;
“Our study shows there appears to be a threshold at which continued repetitive blows to the brain begin to cause measurable changes in memory and thinking, despite brain volume changes that can be found earlier,” said Bernick.
Not only is accurate identification of CTE prior to death important, but if research can find a time/injury threshold of degenerative diseases then perhaps a practical approach can be made to sports.
Article source: http://theconcussionblog.com/2012/04/23/cte-threshold/