Researchers from Boston University led by Ann McKee and Robert C. Cantu, M.D. and their colleagues from the Boston School of Medicine, Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy have published a new study in Brain, A Journal of Neurology, published on December 2, 2012.
The researchers analyzed post-mortem brains contained from a cohort of 85 subjects with histories of repetitive mild traumatic brain injury and found evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in 68 subjects, all males, ranging in age from 17 to 98 years (mean 59.5 years), including 64 athletes, 21 military veterans (86% of whom were also athletes and one individual who engaged in self-injurious head banging behavior). These 85 subjects were then compared with 18 age-and gender-matched individuals without a history of repetitive traumatic brain injury who served as control subjects.
The authors concluded that “this study clearly shows that for some athletes and war fighters, there may be severe and devastating long-term consequences of repetitive brain trauma that has traditionally be considered only mild.”
From a neuro-law perspective, this is another very important study demonstrating that mild traumatic brain injury is anything but mild. While it is true that the 85 subjects examined in this study all received repetitive mild traumatic brain injuries, a factor that is not always present in our cases, it still disputes and debunks the defense argument that mild traumatic brain injury is a self-contained injury of short duration that always goes on to full recovery. If that was true, then it would seem irrelevant how many mild traumatic brain injuries an individual sustained as each individual injury would result in full recovery.