Gene tests for brain injury still far from the football field

Last month, doctors released the autopsy results of former Chicago Bears star Dave Duerson, confirming speculation that the professional football player had suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a form of dementia thought to be caused by years of head injuries sustained on the field. Did he carry a genetic signature that predisposed him to the disease? For almost two decades researchers have hunted—some would say in vain—for genes that might make people more susceptible to dementia from traumatic brain injuries. In February, just days after Duerson committed suicide by a shot to the stomach, researchers published another paper that touched on the role genes might have in CTE, but the connection remains controversial.

[Read more at Nature Medicine (paywall) or download PDF // June 6, 2011]


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