Sunday, February 15, 2015

Any brain insult be it a disease and/or injury is considered brain injury.

The brain is a complicated organ. In the case of this disease there is both an injury followed by a degenerative PROCESS. We have to do everything we can to protect from brain injury and interrupt any degenerative process. 

There are many paths that will have to be engaged to end this terrible tragedy of this disease of football players.

First there will have to be a more intense study of the impacts of football players. Impact is physics. Modern sports medicine should know about the physics of the game and it's impact injuries. The impact injuries now includes brain trauma.

The research into preventing repeated impact is to realize the best way the velocity of a football player can be trained to minimize the result of impact on the brain. 

Velocity is velocity. There can be techniques that can be taught by coaching staff to reduce brain trauma. With research into the mechanics of tackling and falling techniques to dissipate velocity over distance by rolling could reduce the trauma to the brain. Remember, the brain floats in a fluid, it is when the brain is suddenly forced against the bone that brain trauma/injury occurs. This disorder does not occur anywhere expect football, at least that we know. That means gymnasts that twist and turn and jump and land are doing it in such a way they are no sustaining brain injury. Why can't a football player learn to move and fall and land in ways that are not injurious?

I think a strong and lean body also improves any chance of dissipating the velocity of injury because muscle supports the body. Muscles can take impact and bounce back from the impact ABSORBING some of that shock. Bone won't do that. Bone is hard and will TRANSMIT velocity, but, muscles will act as a shock absorber.

Additionally, I think football players have to maintain a healthy diet that supports their brain while in training and during the season of playing. If a player supports brain health from early on will it prevent degeneration even if an injury occurs? My instincts tell me yes. But, they also need to have that brain healthy diet into retirement as well. With the building blocks in the diet can the brain function better and degenerate less? 

We need to take these problems seriously. We are the USA and we can about all our people. We want them to be happy all their years, not just a few years. 

I am hopeful. I sincerely believe we already have this disease on the run and the future will hold more and more promise. This comes at a time when President Obama has set the country on a path to investigate the brain and the disease that beset it. He has asked the scientific community to find treatments. 

Mr. Dorsett was the first player I heard stating he was going to be well again. I think a positive outlook is necessary in treating any disease, but, certainly when it comes to treating the brain all those positive juices are best to meet the day with this level of challenge. '

We know geneticists have already grown nerve tissue in a Petrina dish. Anyone for a transfusion of brain cells? 

Stem cells have proven when placed with mature cells they will grow new tissue. This is tomorrow, but, it has to begin sometime.

There is much to be done and hope has to be a place where we all live to make the dream of recovery and prevention come true. 

I like Mr. Dorsett. I want him to be able to tell stories of his days in football for a long time. I am glad he is a spokesperson to bring about a better outcome for those already ill with this disease and those currently playing and the young folks who love the game. There is no doubt he is a great man and he has capacity to be greater. 

Good luck.

There is such a thing as "Brain Food."

This is an example of brain food from an article on "WebMD". Don't take a simple article for granted that it is the do all or end all for brain health. A worthy medical doctor can make a referral to a nutritionist to discuss the type of foods best for optimal brain activity. A diet that might be able to intervene to diminish protein damage and it's future degeneration.

The brain is tissue. It has building blocks. Proteins are amino acids. There is much to be known about nutrition and how it might stem poor outcomes to brain injury. 

There's no denying that as we age chronologically, (click here) our body ages right along with us. But research is showing that you can increase your chances of maintaining a healthy brain well into your old age if you add these "smart" foods to your daily eating regimen.

Blueberries. "Brainberries" is what Steven Pratt, MD, author of Superfoods Rx: Fourteen Foods Proven to Change Your Life....

Wild salmon. Deep-water fish, such as salmon, are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are essential for brain function, says Kulze. Both she and Pratt recommend wild salmon for its "cleanliness" and the fact that it is in plentiful supply. Omega-3s also contain anti-inflammatory substances. Other oily fish that provide the benefits of omega-3s are sardines and herring, says Kulze; she recommends a 4-ounce serving, two to three times a week.

Those that aren't sure what kind of Omega-3s to prepare in food can ask for a prescription of Omega-es.

Nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds are good sources of vitamin E, says Pratt, explaining that higher levels of vitamin E correspond with less cognitive decline as you get older....

Avocados. Avocados are almost as good as blueberries in promoting brain health, says Pratt. "I don't think the avocado gets its due," agrees Kulze....

Here is another one that stresses eating on a schedule to be sure the brain has the nutrition it needs without delay. Again, consult a nutritionist that is used to working with brain injuries.

Nutritional Tips for Head Injuries (click here)
  • Eat small meals every three to four hours.
  • Keep small baggies of healthy snacks with you during the day to boost your energy, such as nuts, trail mix, apples, cheese, hard-boiled eggs, and energy bars. Ask a member of your family or support group to make these for you and put them in a small cooler to take with you when away from home.
  • Balance small meals with a combination of protein, healthy fats and oils, and carbohydrates. Proteins include fish, lean meats, nuts, and eggs. Healthy fats and oils can be found in avocados, seeds, and nuts. Carbohydrates are found in vegetables, fresh fruits, and grains. Avoid eating carbohydrates by themselves if you have blood sugar concerns. Many individuals report that sugar and chocolate increase headaches, so eat sweets sparingly.
  • Eat moderately. Do not overeat as it can cause you to feel sleepy.
  • Eat by the clock. If your brain/body signals are not working well, set a timer, watch alarm or a mobile phone to alert you that it’s time to eat....

I am not a brain doctor. I simply have a sister that marvels me after her multiple surgeries to her brain. So, I studied up.

I don't ever believe in giving up. 

This is from Wikipedia and it says it well. Encephalopathy is degeneration of the brain tissue.

In some contexts it refers to permanent (or degenerative) brain injury, and in others it is reversible. It can be due to direct injury to the brain, or illness remote from the brain. In medical terms it can refer to a wide variety of brain disorders with very different etiologies, prognoses and implications. For example, prion diseases, all of which cause transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, are invariably fatal, but other encephalopathies are reversible and can be caused by nutritional deficiencies, toxins, and several other causes.

I think with such a new diagnosis the medical profession has a clear picture of the potential for reversing any brain damage associated with this disease.

The rule with ANY brain trauma is that no one knows exactly the extent of the injury until a full year after the insult. Why? Because we know for a fact nervous tissue where there is myelin (White Matter) will seek to regenerate within that myelin.

Now, this is a degenerative process, so once it starts it continues. But, I question whether there are ways of supporting the brain tissue that will minimize the deterioration. I think it is very important to completely understand this disease. We owe it to the men who brought excitement into the lives of Americans. They are important and the game they played was important.

There many types of cells in the brain.

Outside the gray and white matter, literally, there are structures that support the brain. The body has very unique ways of protecting the brain. It is these specialty cells that protect and feed the nervous tissue of the brain. The only part of the brain that is unprotected by any tissue is the gray matter. 

Gray matter is nerve tissue without the myelin. It is the myelin that insulates nerve tissue and it is the white matter. Both are important for normal function. 

The most dramatic example of the difference between gray and white matter is in MS. In MS (Multiple Sclerosis), the myelin is missing. It literally short circuits. MS has nothing to do with the brain disorder of the NFL.

Scientists now beginning to probe the long-neglected half of the brain called the white matter are discovering how it specializes in connectivity, with bundles of insulated “wiring” that link neurons within and between gray matter areas into ensembles that may produce the light of conscious mental functioning. A pioneer of research on white matter, Filley proposes a new field of study that would bring “the other half of the brain” into the mainstream of neuroscience.  - See more at:


- microvasculature

- Blood Brain barrier 


I simply want to stress how completely incredible human brains are and how they are perfect before injury. The human body has developed specialized support tissue to keep any type of toxic substance away from the brain tissue. The nourishment reaching the brain is literally strained by the supportive tissues to protect all those nerves that carry our thoughts and memory. 

"Why the White Brain Matters" (click here) This is an article by Dana Farber which speaks to the forgotten part of the brain.

Why bring this up? Because Mr. Dorsett wants to rehabilitate his brain. He doesn't want to accept the fact in the year 2015 the USA has little to no clue on host to stop and reverse the process of DTE. 

Mr. Dorsett's ambition is admirable and I think it is very realistic, however, it is going to take some more research to identify the cells most effected from person to person. I do not believe this type of encephalopathy is exactly the same in every football player. The reason there is difference is because every player has had a different experience in the game. While this phenomena is diagnosable under one set of terms, the path of this disease my manifest worse in some people than others.   

Scientists now beginning to probe the long-neglected half of the brain called the white matter are discovering how it specializes in connectivity, with bundles of insulated “wiring” that link neurons within and between gray matter areas into ensembles that may produce the light of conscious mental functioning. A pioneer of research on white matter, Filley proposes a new field of study that would bring “the other half of the brain” into the mainstream of neuroscience.  - See more at:

There are basically four types of tissue in the human body other than organ cells.

Epithelial Tissue covers body surfaces (epi, on + thelium, surface).  Epithelial tissue consists of cells attached to one another to form an uninterrupted layer of cells that separates the underlying tissues from the outside world.  The body's epithelium not only covers its obvious surfaces (such as the epidermis of the skin and the linings of respiratory, urinary, and digestive tracts) but also extends into all of the complex invaginations which form lungs, kidneys, sweat glands, digestive glands, liver, etc.  Epithelial tissue provides the essential functions of protection; containment of body fluids; and transport in and out across body surfaces (absorption and secretion).  Embryonically, most epithelial tissues are derived either from ectoderm (e.g., epidermis) or endoderm (e.g., epithelium of trachea and lung).

Organ cells are specialized and do not replicate. In most all instances a person is born with the number of cells they will have in their lifetime. The exception to that are skin cells and bone cells. 

Connective Tissue supports other tissues.  Connective tissue consists of several cell types and extracellular products which, together, provide essential functions of mechanical reinforcement, immune surveillance, transport/diffusion of nutrients and wastes, and energy storage (fat).  Embryonically, connective tissues derive from mesoderm or mesenchyme.

Nervous Tissue is responsible for rapid long-distance signalling, coordination, and "thinking".  Nervous tissue consists of highly specialized nerve cells and support cells which are derived from embryonic neuroectoderm and neural crest. 

Muscle Tissue is specialized for gross movement by means of cellular contraction.  Embryonically, muscle derives from mesoderm or mesenchyme.

Brain tissue has a great many blood vessels. Remember? Microtubules.

Central nervous tissue is highly vascular, so blood vessels should be a significant feature in any histological specimen of CNS.  Large vessels generally remain on the surface of the brain or spinal cord, so only smaller vessels penetrate into gray and white matter.  

Such small vessels may not be immediately recognizable as such.  As in other regions of the body, capillaries may be quite inconspicuous due to small size.  Even venules and arterioles may be small enough that the layers in their walls are not clearly visible.  Blood cells may be washed out during preparation.  Nevertheless, such vessels should be noticed, since they play a crucial role in brain function and pathology. 

Blood vessels are generally the largest structural elements in neuropil and in white matter (i.e., even capillaries are larger in diameter than most CNS axons and dendrites). The thumbnails below link to several spinal cord specimens in which blood vessels may be observed.  Blood vessels appear similar in any region of the brain.

We all know blood vessels are vital to the survival of tissue anywhere in the body. We have witnessed the "compartment syndrome' of a famous journalist in all places an airplane receive an injury that cut off the blood circulation to his lower arm. Blood circulation is vital.

If injury occurs and tau proteins released, the brain tissues microtubules can no long function to circulate vital fluids containing oxygen and cellular food.

So, I think we are getting a fairly good picture to what is occurring with concussion injuries in the NFL. The injury insults the blood circulation and the tau proteins are released from the damaged micro blood vessel and the deterioration begins.

It is understandable, isn't it? It all makes sense to me. I hope it makes sense ot others. I don't think there is a mysterious anything happening with the brain so much as understandable processes or deterioration. In that one can also understand why one player may or may not have the same symptoms as other peers.

This is from Boston University. They have isolated a "tau protein" in these players.

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) (click here) is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes (and others) with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including symptomatic concussions as well as asymptomatic subconcussive hits to the head. CTE has been known to affect boxers since the 1920s. However, recent reports have been published of neuropathologically confirmed CTE in retired professional football players and other athletes who have a history of repetitive brain trauma. This trauma triggers progressive degeneration of the brain tissue, including the build-up of an abnormal protein called tau.  These changes in the brain can begin months, years, or even decades after the last brain trauma or end of active athletic involvement.  The brain degeneration is associated with memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and, eventually, progressive dementia....

Tau proteins  are proteins that stabilize microtubules. They are abundant in neurons of the central nervous system and are less common elsewhere, but are also expressed at very low levels in CNS astrocytes and oligodendrocytes.

Microtubules support cellular processes. The tau proteins are found, in my opinion, in higher numbers in the brains of former football players because the tissue has been damaged. These proteins are probably at first released outside of the cells due to damage and then continue to function, but, now function inappropriately causing greater damage. That is pure theory, but, it seems to me to be realistic. 

So, the question arises as to how to 'turn off' these dysfunctional proteins without turning them off while they function properly. Research. We need to understand what happens to 'advance' the deterioration after the initial injury. 

To date, (click here) the only established function of Tau is the promotion of assembly of tubulin into microtubules and stabilization of their structure. The protein occurs mainly in the axons of the CNS and consists largely of six isoforms generated by alternative splicing; the longest of them has 441 amino acids....

The brain disease found in former NFL players can be diagnosed with scans now. The diagnosis is definative.

January 22, 2013
By Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru Wada

Brain scans performed on five former NFL players (click here) revealed images of the protein that causes football-related brain damage — the first time researchers have identified signs of the crippling disease in living players.

Researchers who conducted the pilot study at UCLA described the findings as a significant step toward being able to diagnose the disease known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE, in living patients.

“I’ve been saying that identifying CTE in a living person is the Holy Grail for this disease and for us to be able make advances in treatment,” said Dr. Julian Bailes, co-director of NorthShore Neurological Institute in Evanston, Ill., and one of the study’s co-authors. “It’s not definitive and there’s a lot we still need to discover to help these people, but it’s very compelling. It’s a new discovery.”
Dozens of former players — including 34 who played in the NFL — have been diagnosed with CTE, a neurodegenerative disease linked to dementia, memory loss and depression. The disease, which researchers say is triggered by repeated head trauma, can be confirmed only by examining the brain after death. CTE was discovered earlier this month in the brain of former Chargers linebacker Junior Seau, who committed suicide last May by shooting himself in the chest.

The UCLA researchers used a patented brain-imaging tool to examine Fred McNeill, a 59-year-old former Vikings linebacker; Wayne Clark, a 64-year-old former back-up quarterback; and three other unidentified players: a 73-year-old former guard; a 50-year-old former defensive lineman; and a 45-year-old former center. Each had sustained at least one concussion; the center sustained 10....

He was born April 7, 1954. He is sixty years old, turning 61 this year. His disability has nothing to do with his age.

November 7, 2013
By Eur Publisher 02

...The 1976 Heisman Trophy (click here) winner and eighth all-time leading NFL rusher said he has trouble controlling his emotions and is prone to outbursts at his wife and daughters.
“It’s painful, man, for my daughters to say they’re scared of me.” After a long pause, he tearfully reiterated, “It’s painful.”
Dorsett said doctors have told him he is clinically depressed.
“I’ve thought about crazy stuff, sort of like, ‘Why do I need to continue going through this?'” he said. “I’m too smart of a person, I like to think, to take my life, but it’s crossed my mind.”
CTE is a disease with no known cure, but Dorsett said he was seeking answers to explain his cognitive and emotional difficulties.
“I want to know if this is something that has come about because of playing football,” he said.
Dorsett’s 12-year playing career ended a quarter-century ago. He said he doesn’t know how many concussions he suffered, but that they were numerous and he believes their consequences are, too.
“My quality of living has changed drastically and it deteriorates every day,” he said.
Dorsett, Marshall and DeLamielleure are among the 4,500-plus plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit filed against the NFL that is in the midst of being settled for $765 million. The plaintiffs argued that for years the NFL had concealed a link between playing football and brain damage. As part of the settlement reached in August, the NFL did not admit to wrongdoing....

Tony Dorsett had an incredible career. (click here)

From the Heisman Trophy to the Hall of Fame. It is safe to say he gave the game his all.

February 13, 2015
By Ron Cook

The words came slowly, haltingly. (click here) It was as if a very old man were speaking. At times, he was hard to understand. It was heartbreaking to hear, especially if you know the man, know what he was.
“I’m in a battle, obviously,” Tony Dorsett said.
This was during an interview this week with Sportsradio 1310 The Ticket in Dallas. Dorsett, a star tailback at Hopewell High School, a Heisman Trophy winner at Pitt and a Hall of Famer and Super Bowl champion with the Dallas Cowboys, has symptoms of CTE — chronic traumatic encephalopathy — a progressive degenerative brain disease that he believes is linked to his playing days. He talked of getting in his car and forgetting where he is going or how to get there. He has mood swings. He has periods of paranoia and depression.
“Some days are good. Some days are bad,” Dorsett said. “I signed up for this when, I guess, I started playing football so many years ago …
“But, obviously, not knowing that the end was going to be like this.”...

The unthinkable has happened.

3 high school football players die in a week (click here)

A New York school district is investigating the death of a 16-year-old football player who died after an on-field collision. It was the third death involving a high school football player in the last week. ESPNW Columnist Kate Fagan joins to examine...
It's Sunday Night

When I feel that chill, smell that fresh cut grass
I'm back in my helmet, cleats, and shoulder pads
Standing in the huddle, listening to the call
Fans going crazy for the boys of fall

They didn't let just anybody in that club
Took every ounce of heart and sweat and blood
To get to wear those game-day jerseys down the hall
The kings of the school, man, we're the boys of fall

Well it's turn to face the stars and stripes
It's fighting back them butterflies
It's call it in the air, alright
Yes sir, we want the ball
And it's knocking heads and talking trash
It's slinging mud and dirt and grass
It's I got your number, I got your back
When your back's against the wall
You mess with one man, you got us all
The boys of fall

In little towns like mine, that's all they've got
Newspaper clippings fill the coffee shops
The old men will always think they know it all
Young girls will dream about the boys of fall

Well it's turn and face the stars and stripes
It's fighting back them butterflies
It's call it in the air, alright
Yes sir, we want the ball
And it's knocking heads and talking trash
It's slinging mud and dirt and grass
It's I got your number, I got your back
When your back's against the wall
You mess with one man, you got us all
The boys of fall

Well it's turn and face the stars and stripes
It's fighting back them butterflies
It's call it in the air, alright
Yes sir, we want the ball
And it's knocking heads and talking trash
It's slinging mud and dirt and grass
It's I got your number, I got your back
When your back's against the wall
You mess with one man, you got us all
The boys of fall

We're the boys of fall
We're the boys of fall