Tag Archives: research

$2.9 million NIH grant will help IU researcher expand work on subconcussive impacts

Every year, nearly 2.5 million U.S. high school athletes participate in contact sports. Each of these athletes sustains an average of 650 subconcussive head impacts in a single season, hits that can negatively affect brain health.

A $2.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health will help researchers at Indiana University determine whether, and to what extent, repetitive subconcussive head impacts — impacts that do not trigger clinically detectable signs and symptoms of concussion — negatively affect brain health in adolescents. If applied repeatedly, subconcussive impacts can trigger subclinical cellular and molecular disruptions in brain cells. Ultimately, the IU research will help establish safety guidelines for young athletes exposed to head impacts.

This large-scale study uses state-of-art neurologic assessments to monitor brain health of high school football players,” said study lead Kei Kawata, assistant professor of kinesiology at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington. “This will be a monumental study to understand safe or unsafe levels of head impacts exposure in high school football, so we can provide a safe platform for players to enjoy football.”

The project is an extension of a study Kawata piloted in 2019 focusing on subconcussive hits among football athletes at Bloomington North High School in Indiana. The current project will span four years and include athletes from Bloomington High School North, Bloomington High School South, Edgewood High School and Mooresville High School.

Adolescence is an especially vulnerable time for neurodevelopment. While head injuries in athletes continue to be a focus of researchers throughout the world, Kawata’s research is unique in that it focuses on repetitive subconcussive head injury that does not necessarily trigger immediate symptoms such as headache, dizziness and disorientation.

Using computerized mouthguards, neurological imaging and blood samples, Kawata and his team will measure every impact athletes endure during play, assessing players’ potential eyeball and eyelid movement impairment, information processing, and blood biomarkers.

Kawata said that playing sports provides young people with important skills and lifelong memories. He said the goal of his work is to make sure young athletes are enjoying sports in the safest way possible.

That goal is important to athletic leaders such as Andrew Hodson, who said that working with researchers at IU has helped inform his school’s athletic programs and keep students safe.

“At the (Monroe County Community School Corp.), we place student-athletes’ health and safety as our highest priority,” said Hodson, athletic director at Bloomington High School North. “We are thankful for the long-standing relationship we have with Dr. Kawata and IU, and for this critical study that addresses an important safety concern for our athletes and their parents.

“Athletics provides meaningful opportunities for students to engage in physical activity and be part of a team, and we want this to continue in the safest way possible. We look forward to continuing to be a part of this important project.”

Others contributing to the study include Jesse Steinfeldt, IU School of Education Bloomington; Sharlene Newman and Hu Cheng, IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences; Jeffrey Bazarian, University of Rochester; and Keisuke Ejima, Zhongxue Chen and Jon Macy, all from the School of Public Health-Bloomington.

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National Football League Veteran Wes Chandler Creates WCTE Inc. to Tackle Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

Former NFL player, Wes Chandler, a member of the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame, and most recently an inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame, announced today the formation of a biotechnology company named WCTE Inc. which is dedicated to the diagnosis, intervention, and cure of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).

At present, the formal diagnosis of CTE can only be made after death, and there is currently no treatment available.  CTE is the cause of depression and suicide in numerous football players, according to Chandler, founder and CEO of WCTE.

“WCTE Inc. was formed because of the urgent unmet need to treat my friends and colleagues, who have sacrificed their health and their lives for popular entertainment.  Now that they need our help, it is our responsibility to be there for them,” said Chandler, who was a star receiver at the University of Florida before moving on to the NFL.  “It is my vision to identify, integrate and incorporate the latest technologies in order to provide a fighting chance for my colleagues.”

CTE has been understudied in contrast to other types of brain injuries, resulting in a time sensitive opportunity for development of intellectual property and therapies in this relatively unexplored area, according to Chandler.  In addition to the estimated $2 billion CTE market, technologies developed addressing CTE possess potential to address the substantially larger Alzheimer’s and aging market.

The company’s immediate focus falls upon three areas. First, capturing all intellectual property related to CTE through licensing/filing of patents.  Secondly, obtain ID approval to initiate a CTE clinical trial using its clinical state stem cell product WesCellTM.  Lastly, generating revenue through sales of NeuroStilbeneTM.

Assisting Chandler in organization of WCTE is Dr. Thomas Ichim, a successful biotechnology entrepreneur whose career successes include taking a stem cell company from discovery of the stem cell to FDA clearance, to sale of the company; 121 peer reviewed papers; 130 patents and patent applications; and successful development of 5 cellular therapeutics that have entered the clinic.

“I am honored to work with Mr. Chandler on helping find a cure for his colleagues and others who suffer from this devastating condition. Having known Wes for several years, I can attest he brings a fresh, multi-disciplinary, goal-oriented, approach to biotechnology. I look forward to working with him in identifying, licensing, and developing key technologies useful for treatment of CTE,” said Dr. Thomas Ichim.

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Consensus Statement on Sports-Related Concussions in Youth Sports Using a Modified Delphi Approach

A recent paper by JAMA Pediatrics seems to support that notion. The purposes of the paper was to review the “rapid progress of research on this topic over the last decade, and the need to provide further guidance to youth athletes, their families, medical professionals, and athletic personnel and organizations.” To do that, “a panel of experts undertook a modified Delphi consensus process to summarize the current literature and provide recommendations regarding the prevention, assessment, and management of sports-related concussions for young athletes.”

Abstract

Importance  Given the importance of sports-related concussions among youth athletes, the rapid progress of research on this topic over the last decade, and the need to provide further guidance to youth athletes, their families, medical professionals, and athletic personnel and organizations, a panel of experts undertook a modified Delphi consensus process to summarize the current literature and provide recommendations regarding the prevention, assessment, and management of sports-related concussions for young athletes.

Methods  A consensus panel of 11 experts was created to represent a broad spectrum of expertise in youth sports and concussions. The specific questions to be addressed were developed through an iterative process consisting of 3 rounds, and a review of the literature was conducted to identify research studies related to each question. The consensus panel used a modified Delphi process to reach consensus on the conclusions and recommendations for each question.

Results and Conclusions  In 3 Delphi consensus rounds, 7 questions were addressed by the consensus panel of 11 experts, and 26 recommendations for the prevention, assessment, and management of sports-related concussions among young athletes were developed. For many of the questions addressed in this consensus statement, limitations existed in the quantity and quality of the evidence available to develop specific recommendations for youth sports stakeholders.

To get the full paper, visit: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/article-abstract/2754823

 

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