Aug 17, 2010 8:31 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Scientists link ALS, athlete head injuries

HBO's "Real Sports" is reporting that scientists have found evidence connecting head injuries in athletes to Lou Gehrig's disease.

Dr. Ann McKee says in an interview to air Tuesday night that she found toxic proteins in the spinal cords of three athletes who had suffered head injuries and then later died of Lou Gehrig's disease, or ALS.

Those same proteins have been found in the brains of athletes who have a disease linked to head injuries that causes cognitive decline, abnormal behavior and dementia.

Lou Gehrig's disease attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, and destroys the ability to move and speak. McKee's findings are to be be published in the Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology.


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