How Explosions can Tackle the Brain

Dr. Lee Goldstein explains the research found in Chronic traumatic encephalopathy in blast-exposed military veterans and a blast neurotrauma mouse model.

Military veterans who have been exposed to blasts and athletes who have had multiple concussions often have neurological and cognitive problems. Medical researchers have found that these problems are linked to traumatic brain injury (TBI), which can occur when there is a significant impact to the head. Researchers have also found that both of these groups show evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a type of neurodegenerative disease that is hard to identify because it cannot be diagnosed until after a patient has died. To better understand what causes CTE, the authors of this study looked for similarities in the postmortem brains of blast-exposed military veterans and young athletes who had suffered multiple concussions. They also developed a mouse model of blast neurotrauma that replicates the damage seen in postmortem brains of these two groups and links them to learning and memory deficits. This study sheds light on how TBI and CTE are linked, and opens the door for the development of new diagnostic methods, treatments, and preventative measures.

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Source: Science in the Classroom: Annotated Research Papers and Accompanying Teaching Materials


Annotated by: Andrew Fisher, Lee Goldstein, Shelby Lake

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