Study Links Military Vets With Brain Disease Found in Athletes
A small study raises more concern about the long-term consequences of brain injuries suffered by thousands of soldiers — suggesting they may be at risk of developing the same degenerative brain disease as some retired football players. Autopsies of four young veterans found the earliest signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, in their brain tissue, Boston researchers reported.
They compared the brain tissue of some of the youngest athletes ever found with signs of early CTE, in their teens and 20s, and concluded the abnormalities were nearly identical.
“It’s very distinctive,” said Dr. Lee Goldstein of Boston University, who led the study with Dr. Ann McKee of the VA New England Healthcare System. “You don’t see this in normal individuals.” The research suggests that the cause of the injury, whether a blast or repeated blows, doesn’t matter — it can trigger the same disease-causing process, said McKee, who has long studied the athlete connection.