Research suggests multiple concussions do not always lead to the development of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
Investigators from the Krembil Neuroscience Centre’s Canadian Concussion Centre (CCC), based at Toronto Western Hospital, analyzed the brain of Todd Ewen, a former National Hockey League (NHL) player who sustained several concussions during his professional and amateur career. Despite memory loss, chronic body pain, diabetes, and undiagnosed depression prior to his death, his brain showed no sign of CTE or any other neurodegenerative disease, the researchers found during an autopsy.
Including the Ewen analysis, the researchers have examined a total 20 brains, with roughly half showing signs of CTE or the presence of another neurodegenerative disease.
“Our findings continue to show that concussions can affect the brain in different ways. This underlines the need to not only continue this research, but also be cautious about drawing any definitive conclusions about CTE until we have more data,” Dr Lili-Naz Hazrati, PhD, MD, FRCPC, a neuropathologist with the CCC research team, said in a statement.
With the hopes of continuing its research project, the CCC aims to recruit a total of 50 brain donations.