The Pro Football Concussion Report

A Fan's Look at Head Injuries and the Concussion Crisis in Football

Harvard Researchers Make Progress on Brain Damage Treatment

Harvard Teaching Hospital - Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Harvard Teaching Hospital - Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center


A study funded in-part by a NFLPA grant offers the possibility of early intervention for CTE following a traumatic brain injury.

In the study, which was recently published online edition of the journal Nature, researchers found that a misshapen isoform of the tau protein can develop as soon as 12 hours after TBI, setting in motion a destructive course of events that can lead to widespread neurodegeneration.

In addition to that critical finding,  the researchers have developed an antibody that can selectively detect and destroy this highly toxic protein.

This work could have tremendous impact on the future health and well being of Alzheimer’s and CTE patients. The project was coordinated by investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School’s teaching hospital.


“High-profile cases of CTE, such as that of the late football player Junior Seau, have vividly demonstrated the tragic consequences of this affliction,” he added. “We need to learn more about CTE’s causes in order to develop better ways of diagnosing and treating it, and this study offers us a promising early intervention to prevent the pathologic consequences of this disease. These findings additionally offer us a new way to approach Alzheimer’s disease, which poses a staggering unsustainable burden throughout the world.”

~ Dr. Alvaro Pascual-Leone, Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School


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