Beta-Amyloid is Deposited within Hours of Moderate to Severe TBI
Neuropathologists such as Bennet Omalu, M.D. and Ann McKee, M.D. have already established that NFL football players who had many concussions and who suffered from the cognitive, memory, personality, and behavioral changes consistent with CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) had significant deposits of the beta-amyloid protein seen in Alzheimer’s disease when they died. What about people who have just one significant concussion? We now have a startling answer. On November 11, 2013 neuroscientist Hong Young published a study titled Amyloid Imaging With Carbon 11–Labeled Pittsburgh Compound B for Traumatic Brain Injury in JAMA Neurology online (doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2013.4847). Dr. Young had PET scans performed on 15 persons (aged 21-50) with moderate to severe TBI and 11 healthy age-matched controls who had no signs, symptoms or history of neurologic disease. The results of the PET scans showed significant deposits of beta-amyloid protein in the cortical gray matter and striatrum (the brain’s motivation center) beginning within hours of the TBI in the TBI group, and an absence of such deposits in the brains of the healthy controls.
Although the size of the study was small and this is only study, it is important not just because it refutes the NFL position that even dozens of concussions do not cause brain changes associated with dementia, but because it alerts victims of even one significant concussion to their need for proper diagnosis and initiation of anti-amyloid therapy if significant amyloid deposits are found.