Just one head injury could ‘tangle’ proteins in the brain, leading to Alzheimer’s

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A single serious knock to the skull could be all it takes to develop the nerve damage thought to be responsible for neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, according to a recent study.

Most research into the neurological impact of head trauma has focussed on repeated damage, like that experienced by sports fighters or footballers; often, it’s based on post-mortem results. So researchers from across Europe and the UK teamed up to look at the potential impact a single accident could have on the brain tissue of living volunteers.

Using positron emission tomography (PET) scans, the researchers imaged the brains of 21 volunteers who’d experienced a moderate to severe head injury up to 37 years prior.

Related article:  Nothing to fear from hallucinations linked to macular degeneration, study shows

By administering a chemical that sticks exclusively to a repeating ‘tangled’ version of a protein called tau, the researchers were able to piece together individualised maps showing which brains had clumps of tangled tau and which didn’t.

They noticed a significant increase in the amount of tau collecting in the right occipital lobe – the back part of the brain – among those who’d had a traumatic brain injury, regardless of whether they were disabled or had recovered.

Read full, original post: Just One Head Injury Could Be Enough to Tangle Proteins in Your Brain

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