--Original published at JanellesCollegeBlog
Repeated head hits can cause CTE (323 words out of 984)
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease. Previous studies have linked this disease with concussions as the most common population to develop the disease are those who have been bombarded with repeated head blows like professional football players and combat veterans. Those who develop this disease often show Alzheimer-like symptoms, but the only way to accurately diagnosis the disease is with an autopsy after death.
A new more comprehensive study on the link between CTE and repeated head blows has found a relationship between the two. The study conducted two different experiments to try to show the correlation. In one section of the study, the brains of recently deceased young adult athletes were taken and observed for pathways related to the development of CTE. Four of these athletes had suffered from recent head injuries and four had not. The four brains of those who received recent head injuries showed signs of pathways correlated with CTE like axonal damage and phosphorylated tau protein build-up. One brain was actually diagnosed with the early stages of CTE. The other four brains did not show these related pathways.
This study also conducted an experiment on mice. 203 mice were exposed to two repeated head blows and scored on their ability to complete physical tasks. The brains of the mice were then observed to see if there were any changes in the structures of the brain due to these repetitive hits. The researchers found similar disrupted pathways like those found in the human brains including phosphorylated tauopathy. These findings could be correlated back to humans due to the similarity between human and mice brains.
The results of this study found that even without concussions, humans and mice exposed to repeated head blows could develop CTE, although it is not guaranteed. The development and progression of the disease can start early in adolescents and continue throughout the rest of individuals’ lives.
Link to news article: https://www.cnn.com/2018/01/18/health/cte-concussion-repeated-hits-study/index.html
Link to scholarly article: https://academic.oup.com/brain/article/141/2/422/4815697
The process of summarizing the scholarly article into a news article was really difficult. I had to take a lot of information from the scholarly article and discard it to hit the main points. Also, I had to pay attention to the fact that most individuals in the audience reading my article would not have the in depth knowledge needed to understand the terminology of the scholarly article. I did not understand a lot of it when I originally read it. This proved to be really difficult when creating my news article because I had to discard a lot of information about the brain tests that were completed and focus on the broader points of the topic. I also discarded a lot of the statistics that were found because they would not have any meaning to the audience and would confuse more than help. Another challenging aspect of the revision process was that I believed one of the strongest points in the original news article was their direct quotes from experts. They were allowed to conduct interviews and have first-hand perspectives, but in my article, I was limited in this ability.
This project completely changed the way I think about journalists. I have gained a greater understanding of the process and how difficult it truly is. First the journalist has to have a deep understanding of the scholarly article. My scholarly article was extremely in depth and challenging to understand, but the journalist had to fully understand it to then be able to explain it in a way that their audience would understand, the most challenging part. Then, journalists need to write the article in a way that makes sense and flows and add in additional quotes and interviews. I really enjoyed this project, but it made me have a greater appreciation for journalists because I think their job is extremely difficult.