News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Levin Furniture

Northeast Ohio Medical University

The Holden Arboretum


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Health and Medicine


Football study shows hits add up to increased risk of brain disease
Cleveland Clinic researchers show that repeated hits to the head increase the risk of degenerative brain disease even without concussions
by WKSU's JEFF ST. CLAIR


Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
 
Kent State quarterback Luke Smurthwaite takes a breather during tryouts for pro-day at KSU's field house. College players from Baldwin-Wallace, John Carroll, and the University of Rochester took part in a Cleveland Clinic study measuring the accumulative effects of sub-concussive hits.
Courtesy of Jeff St.Clair
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

Evidence is mounting that brain injuries in football players go beyond concussions.  A new Cleveland Clinic study shows even small hits over time can increase the risk of problems later in life.

WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair reports.

St.Clair - Cleveland Clinic football study

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:07)


(Click image for larger view.)

Pro day at Kent State University means college players from around the region are measured, weighed and tested under the watchful eyes of NFL scouts. Kent State quarterback Spencer Keith is one of the players they’re watching closely, and he's hoping to get picked up by an NFL team. But Keith is not worried about the risk of concussions in the big league. He says it's a concern for a lot of people, "but it’s part of the game." He doesn't admit to ever suffering a concussion in his college carrier, but he's taken his share of hits.

Proteins where they don't belong
And it’s the long-term impact of these more common hits that is the focus of a new study by Cleveland Clinic researchers. Dr. Damir Janigro is the lead author. He says he and his fellow researchers followed a protein called S-100B that’s normally found only in the brain. But when they took blood samples from 67 college football players in the study, he got a surprise. Janigro says in players who had no concussions, but only several "sub-concussive" hits to the head, "S-100 was elevated at the end of the game. It went down to normal levels the day after the game, but it was nevertheless elevated.”

Janigro found that the more hits a player took, the higher the levels of S100 in the blood. "But also, there were changes in the MRI scans that are suggestive of an increased risk of degenerative brain diseases.” In other words, temporary swelling in the brain, but not quite a concussion, could lead to problems down the road when college players, like everyone else, succumb to the effects of aging.

An army of anti-bodies waiting to assault the brain
For now, Janigro is more worried about the presence of the brain protein in the blood, because the body’s immune system doesn’t recognize S100 and therefore builds up antibodies against it. He says numerous studies show that having antibodies against your brain is a risk factor for brain disease. Janigro says repeated hits to the head create a backlog of antibodies waiting to attack the next time there’s damage to tiny blood vessels in the brain. “So, in other words, when your door opens, it’s better if you don’t have an army ready to assault.”

Janigro and his team are working on a blood test for the brain protein S100 that could be given on the sidelines to determine whether a player should sit out for a while or give up the game altogether.

As a native of Italy, Damir Janigro is not a fan of American football, but as a researcher studying the blood-brain-barrier, he can’t think of a better research model.

The Cleveland Clinic study adds weight to a body of research showing that a player using his head as a battering ram, even if it doesn’t cause a concussion, can increase the risk of neuro-degenerative diseases down the road. The research is published in the current edition of the online journal PLOS One.

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Ohio becomes first in the nation to dump PARCC testing
Best test to use for elementary schools is the old pre common core Iowa test of basic skills. This test measures apples to apples and tests the skills appropri...

Ohio is moving forward with new standardized tests
Mr Chow, Nice piece on testing. Should not Ohio go to an open bid process for the new assessment contract? Ohio has stayed with a "connected" DC non-profit fo...

The Surpreme Court gay-marriage decision plays out in Ohio Amish country
Keep in mind that the majority of the people residing in Holmes County are Amish, a church people who do not vote because they do not believe in governmental ru...

Akron council committee recommends Forney for its opening
Which committee member voted for Wilhite?

Nearly a dozen Cuyahoga gay couples get licenses to marry after the Supreme Court ruling
Presiding Judge Anthony J. Russo a graduate of Chanel High School and supposed member of St. Francis Parish in Gates Mills has just excommunicated himself. As ...

Canton Youth Symphony is named orchestra of the year
This is what makes CSO the hippest small town orchestra in America!

What can be expected if Ohio's tobacco taxes increase?
let's face it! The increase has little to do with smoking cessation

Rare Cleveland Indians photo from 1911 hits the auction block
Paddy Livingston, who cut his teeth on a Louisville Slugger in Kent, Ohio was one of the immortals that played in that game. He was the catcher. Ty Cobb actuall...

Nexus denies Green's request to relocate its planned gas pipeline
These people have so much power. Too much. They could care less about the people they leave when it is done. Spectra does not, and admits, they do not do the...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University