Local Healthcare Leaders Benefit from CTE Forum - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Local Healthcare Leaders Benefit from CTE Forum

Doctor Robert Stern of Boston University Doctor Robert Stern of Boston University
Sam Lee Sam Lee
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Doctor Robert Stern of Boston University is one of the most accomplished neurologists in the country.  He is an industry leader in the field of neuro-research, specifically chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.  He also just completed a two day symposium in Hawaii as the keynote speaker, hoping to share his knowledge with local healthcare leaders.

"We're going to figure out how to diagnose this thing during life in the next five to ten years" he said while on break between sessions.  One of his main goals is to be able to diagnose the degenerative brain disease during life.  Currently, diagnoses can only be done post mortem.  His second goal: determining the risk factors.
"We do know that everyone that's ever been diagnosed with CTE postmortem has had one thing in common and that one thing is a history of repetitive hits to the head".
Dr. Stern has also examined the effects of repetitive brain trauma in kids under the age of 12.  A recent study of former NFL players revealed some startling information.
"The ones who started before age twelve had significantly worse cognitive functioning and significantly worse integrity of those white matter tracts in the brain" he noted.

It's that type of data local health officials are hoping to integrate into athletic healthcare here in Hawaii.
"Who's managing the health care for the Pop Warner kids?  Pop Warner football, AYSO soccer and other leagues" said Sam Lee, President of the Hawaii Athletic Trainers Association.

Lee says the field of brain study is advancing so fast, seminars like this are crucial for keeping up.
"Far different even from what it was 5 years, 10 years ago.  If you look at how people manage concussions.  That keeps evolving".

As the medicine changes, so too Dr. Stern hopes, will people's mindsets.  "We know that hitting your brain over and over again ain't good for ya’.  So why do we then drop our kids of and say go at it?"
 

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