Recent findings on football concussions and their long-term effects have centered on research of brains from deceased athletes. That's because no definite method has been created to study head-injury effects on living brains.
However, NPR reported that concussion research has been slowed by lack of available brains to study for brain diseases, such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). That fact came to light this week as the family of the late Jovan Belcher agreed to have the former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker's body exhumed in order to study his brain.
Dr. Robert Stern, professor of neurology and neurosurgery at Boston University, is optimistic that a brain-imaging tool for live brains that can define the symptoms of CTE is close. One such machine is being tested by UCLA researchers. The current shortage of brains for use by science, however, exacerbates the problem, he said.
-- Bill Bradley, contributing editor