CONCUSSION & CTE (CHRONIC TRAUMATIC ENCEPHALOPATHY)
Written by Slawomir Gromadzki, MPH
Millions of people suffer from a concussion due accidents, falls, fights, and frequent participation in various sports such as boxing, American football, soccer, ice hockey, basketball, and also military veterans (blast injuries & combat), or even cheerleading.
Especially boxing and American football have been accused many times of leading to CTE, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. Also among soccer players the risk of developing CTE seems to be high as an average football (soccer) player heads the hard ball at least 4,000 times during a 20-year career. In 2002, the long-celebrated retired British football player Jeff Astle, had died at the age of 59 due to CTE and dementia caused by a long career heading the ball.
WHAT IS CONCUSSION?
Concussion is defined as a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a blow on the head. It happens when the brain bounces inside the skull resulting in bruising, oedema and even bleeding.
The most common signs of a concussion may include the following: Temporary loss of consciousness, memory loss surrounding the event, headache, confusion, nausea or vomiting, fatigue, etc.
Normally people who have few occasional concussions during their lifetime recover completely in a few days; however, serious complications can occur in individuals who have experienced multiple concussions (boxers, football players, etc.). It sometimes lead to a form of very dangerous degenerative brain damage called CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) (see below).
Also elderly, infants, and children are at higher risk of experiencing serious complications.
WHAT IS CTE?
CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) is a degenerative brain condition often found in boxers, American football players, military veterans, and other individuals with a history of repetitive brain concussions or trauma.
In CTE, an abnormal protein called Tau (similar to the one suspected of causing Alzheimer’s) creates plagues or clumps that slowly spread throughout the brain, killing brain cells.
Early symptoms of CTE such as aggression, depression, and paranoia sometimes appear even in young individuals affecting their mood and behaviour.
As the brain damage progresses, some patients experience memory loss, impaired judgment, confusion, and eventually progressive dementia.
In 2017 scientists found out how to diagnose football-related brain injury in living patients >
CTE is not caused by any single concussion and brain injury, but rather by years of regular, repetitive hits to the brain.
It is also mind-provoking to know that there are many athletes who experienced thousands of concussions over many years without developing CTE. Although more research is needed to explain this phenomenon yet I personally believe that one of the key reasons could be associated with genetic predispositions, mental attitudes, ability to control stress, and especially nutritional and lifestyle factors (same one that are responsible for the prevention or development of Alzheimer’s).
The symptoms caused by this condition was first described in 1928, by Dr. Harrison Martland with reference to some boxers. In 2005, a pathologist by the name Bennet Omalu was the first who coiled the name of this condition and proved its existence in Mike Webster, former American football player (in 2015 I watched a movie titled Concussion with Will Smith as Dr. Omalu which showed how the story about the discovery in a very interesting way). Later on hundreds of other post-mortem brain autopsies were performed and identified with CTE.
By now CTE has been found in 99 percent of the donated brains of NFL players. In 2016, the NFL reached a billion-dollar settlement over a lawsuit from former players who have developed severe neurological diseases such as CET or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) as a result of repeated concussions.
SUBCONCUSSIVE IMPACTS AS KEY CAUSE OF CTE
The difference between concussions and subconcussive impacts is that in concussions the brain is shaken violently enough for the brain cells to be immediately damaged while in subconcussive hits the brain is also shaken, but not violently enough to cause immediate brain cell damage. However, there is enough evidence to believe that over time regularly repeated subconcussive impacts are equally or even more dangerous and responsible for the development of CTE than concussions.
Examples of these types of subconcussive blows to the brain include light boxing hits, headers in soccer, and most collisions on the football, hockey, soccer or other sport fields. As a result of those impacts the brain is also repeatedly shaken and affected every day, but they are not noticed right away nor regarded as dangerous.
It is currently believed that it is not only concussions but also those subconcussive hits that cause CTE. It is very interesting and surprising to know that there have been numerous cases of CTE discovered in athletes who have never been diagnosed with a single concussion but experienced many subconcussive impacts over a long period of time.
TREATMENT OF CONCUSSION
– Proper rest and sleep are regarded as key elements in treating concussion and helping the brain to heal after the injury. For that reason, watching television, playing video games, using computer or mobile phone, reading, etc. should be avoided until all symptoms are gone.
– Appropriate water treatments such as hot foot bath or keeping feet interchangebly in a very hot and icy water is an excellent way to improve blood circulation in the brain thus leading to improved healing process.
– There are many supplements that can be very helpful in coping with concussions. One of them is Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil and plants such as flax oil, flaxseed or chia seeds. According to a study published in the journal Advances in Nutrition, Omega 3 enhanced healing in patients with concussions. However, if there is any sign of brain bleeding it is not recommended to take any fish oil as being a blood thinner it may increase bleeding.
– Research also suggest that supplementing with creatine helps improve concussion symptoms including memory loss, tiredness, headache, and nausea.
– Scientists from the Department of Neurosurgery at the Medical College of Georgia have demonstrated that curcumin in turmeric is effective in not only reversing Alzheimer’s but also reducing inflammation, pain, swelling, and oxidative damage after brain concussion and injury.
– Daily intake of supplements containing alpha lipoic acid, magnesium, vitamin D3, folate, vitamin B6 and all B vitamins, zinc, selenium, boron, chlorella, barley grass, sublingual methylcobalamin, NAC, acetyl L-carnitine and herbs such as Tulsi (holy basil) are very effective not only in reversing Alzheimer’s but also any other brain damage including the one caused by concussion.
– A research published in the journal Surgical Neurology International discovered that antioxidants found in fresh raw vegetables, fresh fruits (such as resveratrol in red grapes), certain spices, fresh ground turmeric, etc. are effective in relieving concussion symptoms.
– The CDC’s HEADS UP Resource Center provides free online training for coaches and clinicians about concussions and head injuries.
TREATMENT OF CTE (CHRONIC TRAUMATIC ENCEPHALOPATHY)
– Since physiological cause (Tau proteins), brain damage and signs of CTE seem to be similar to those of other conditions that involve substantial loss of brain cells, including Alzheimer’s disease (>) it is very logical to me that to prevent and treat CTE we should use the same natural remedies that have proved to be effective in case of Alzheimer’s sufferers. It means that if regular use of remedies such as unrefined plant-based diet, turmeric, raw organic coconut oil, sublingual methylcobalamin, fresh raw vegetable juices, alpha lipoic acid, magnesium, chlorella, fresh barley grass juice, vitamin B6, folate, and some other remedies can reverse neurological damage in the brain in Alzheimer’s patients without causing any side effects then it is possible that the same remedies can prevent and even treat CTE!
– I am aware that initially it might appear to you challenging or difficult to implement all those principles but please do not give up and try to repeatedly study the whole content of the following optimal health recovery plan on a regular basis making sure you experience a systematic progress in practicing all the included principles. The more of them you manage to implement the better results you will see:
- Avoid Amalgam (silver) fillings (remove if possible). Read more >
- Detoxify brain from Mercury, Fluoride, Lead, etc. using Chlorella >
- Drink only Distilled or Filtered water (use Reverse osmosis filter) >
- Take Turmeric, Chlorella, Saffron, Flaxseed (ground), and Ginkgo biloba
- Use Supplements: Vitamin B12 (Sublingual Methylcobalamin) >, Magnesium, B6 (P5P), B3, L-methylfolate, Zinc, Vitamin D3
- Take Antioxidants: NAC, Alpha Lipoic acid, Resveratrol
- Train your brain (Build strong neural networks) by reading, studying & memorising Bible
- Avoid: Statins, Flu vaccines, Drugs
- Treat Depression, Learn to control Stress, Think positive, Laugh
- Lower Cholesterol, Treat Atherosclerosis
- Avoid (or at least significantly reduce) meat, dairy, fish, sugar, refined foods,
- Avoid art. sweeteners (use erithritol, stevia or xilitol instead)
- Go on plant-based unrefined diet (at least 50% raw)
- Eat variety of raw sprouts
- Use only raw organic Coconut oil. For salad dressing use only cold pressed Olive oil & fresh cold-pressed Flax oil
- Avoid all stimulants (alcohol, smoking, caffeine, cannabis, drugs, etc.)
- Aerobic Exercise every day
- Lose weight (reduce belly size)
- Treat Diabetes, High blood pressure & Inflammatory diseases
In addition, read carefully and do your best to implement all the principles and recommendations included in the HEALTH RECOVERY PLAN >
– A study conducted Dr. Dale Bredesen of the UCLA Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging was the first to suggest that memory loss in patients may be reversed — and improvement sustained — using a complex, 36-point therapeutic program that involves comprehensive diet changes, brain stimulation, exercise, sleep optimization, specific pharmaceuticals and vitamins, and multiple additional steps that affect brain chemistry. (READ MORE >)
Scientists from the Department of Neurosurgery at the Medical College of Georgia have demonstrated that curcumin in turmeric is effective in not only reversing Alzheimer’s but also reducing inflammation, pain, swelling, and oxidative damage after brain concussion and injury.
– Please do not believe those who promote drinking coffee to prevent AD (even if there is some truth in it) because caffeine in coffee and other products is a poison and leads to many dangerous effects on human organism including brain and nervous system:
– Find out how to recover from anxiety and DEPRESSION >
– Force you brain to think. The best example of an excellent book which can greatly boost mental powers is the Bible. It is the most effective tool against dementia and AD because in order to understand it properly it is not enough to read it but you have to force your mind to think harder, study it in the context, compare verses, compare translations and often learn history. Sometimes the hidden truth is so complex and deep that in order to understand it correctly we need to ask for divine inspiration.
Here is another reason why studying the Word of God should be regarded as the most effective way to prevent and treat AD:
– Daily prayer is another powerful weapon against AD. While using as many natural listed here remedies as possible pray constantly asking God with faith for His blessing and healing and you will see great results.
– Remove mercury from the brain! The best remedy able to remove mercury and other heavy metals and toxins from the brain is CHLORELLA >
Chlorella is one of the best natural remedies to prevent and reverse brain damage not only because it detoxifies our brains from mercury but also because, like turmeric, it can regenerate damaged brain tissue:
Since Chlorella is a powerful detoxifier and energy booster it is better to start with a smaller dose such as 1 teaspoon or 3 tablets 30 minutes before breakfast and the same amount 30 minutes before lunch with 2 glasses of water, vegetable juice or smoothie. Then gradually increase the intake every day (by approximately 1 tablet) until reaching the maximum dose of 2 or 3 heaped tablespoons or 10 – 20 tablets (500mg) 30 min before breakfast and the same amount 30 min before lunch. Altogether you can take 2-6 round tablespoons or about 20-40 tablets (500mg per tablet) of chlorella a day. The dose of course also depends on age and body weight. After three months instead of Chlorella use Spirulina or even better Clean Greens (Pukka) for a month or two and then come back to Chlorella.
– Sublingual Methylcobalamin (form of vitamin B12) is another key remedy which helped many people to reverse neurological and brain damage. Deficiency of this vitamin is regarded as “rampant” today. >
Read a fascinating article on B12 >
– Chia seeds are very helpful too. Like flax seed it is regarded as the best source of Omega 3 fatty acids. Mix 1-2 tablespoons with fruit juice or plant-based milk every morning and eat it after at least 30 minutes with your breakfast.
– Every day eat fresh raw (not cooked) sprouts (alfalfa sprouts, watercress sprouts, sunflower sprouts, etc.).
The process of seed germination results in a dramatic increase in their vitamin, mineral and phytochemical content. According to Dr. J. Mercola, „Sprouts can contain up to 30 times the nutrition of organic vegetables! Sprouted seed, nut or bean has a whopping 43 times the enzyme power when compared to the non-sprouted variety! Sprouts are the highest source of ENZYMES which improve digestion of food and absorption of essential nutrients.”
Sprouts are also bioactive food as they are the only plant based food that is still growing as we consume them!
Purchasing very inexpensive sprouts at retail stores is the simplest method for adding sprouts to your menu, but growing them at home on a large tray with soil is much better. Using good quality soil to grow your own sprouts, you make them organic and free from pesticides and other unwanted chemicals. I make my own sunflower sprouts as they are most delicious and very potent. Try to avoid consuming the same type of sprouts every day for a longer period of time. Instead use variety of different sprouts but the most important seem to be fresh sunflower sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, and watercress sprouts. On YouTube you will find numerous videos explaining how to make your own sprouts at home.
– After a long and close analysis and comparison of different healthy vegetarian and vegan diets I believe that the most effective one is the Hallelujah Diet. And one of the key reasons of this conclusion is that this diet is based on raw fresh vegetable juices and it is 85% raw. There are thousands of testimonials written by people who on Halleluja diet recovered from all sorts of health problems often regarded as incurable. In order to get strong motivation to start juicing read my article on Vegetable juices and Hallelujah diet.
– Drink 1 or 2 glasses of fresh raw and possibly cold-pressed (using slow juicer) vegetable juices (carrots, beets, broccoli, kale or spinach, etc.) 2 to 3 times a day before meals or instead. It is even better to have them with chlorella or spirulina, alfalfa, turmeric and barley grass. If you want to maintain your health drink 2 to 3 times 1 glass. In case your intension is to treat different health problems such as cancer, etc. you need to have 2 glasses 3 to 4 times a day. Read more about VEGETABLE JUICES >
Find out more about Niacin >
– Take Good quality Multivitamin-mineral formula: 1-2 tablets after breakfast. Please do not buy cheap formulas as their potency is very low and they contain only short list of inorganic ingredients. It must be a good quality formula such as Earth Source (Solgar) or Healthy Mega (HealthAid) > which is an excellent multi-vitamin and mineral formula fortified with alfalfa powder, rutin, citrus bioflavonoids, bromelain, lutein, PABA, lycopene, herbs and many other super nutrients. Take 1 tablet, preferably with first meal. If your diet is very healthy and you stay away from refined foods, sugar and stimulants then take only 1/2 tablet after breakfast. Brainvit is another excellent multivitamin/nutrient formula containing most important ingredients to promote brain health and memory. Brainvit can be used together or interchangeably with Healthy Mega or Earth Source.
– Expose your body to the sun whenever possible.
– Drink 3 times a day 2 or 3 glasses of distilled water > about 30 to 60 minutes before each meal or about 2 hours after. During hot days you need even more. Your urine should be transparent, if it is yellow it means you don’t drink enough water.
– Go to sleep as early as possible. Try to sleep at least seven or eight hours a day.
– Avoid eating foods rich in refined sugar and other refined carbohydrates such as white flour products (body turn white flour into blood sugar).
– Avoid ALL artificial sweeteners! Artificial sweeteners can usually be identified by many different names such as sucralose, saccharin, or aspartame (Splenda, Equal, Sweet n Low). There are almost a hundred side effects listed by the FDA, including depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, memory loss, nerve cell damage, Alzheimer’s, migraines, reproductive disorders, brain lesions, weight gain, food cravings, seizures and more.
– Avoid high glucose/fructose syrup (HFCS).
– If you tend to struggle with having a sweet tooth try to substitute the unhealthy products with fresh and dried fruits (dates, raisins, figs, prunes, etc.). If you miss traditional dairy ice creams, which are very unhealthy, make your own delicious and healthy ice creams by blending frozen bananas or other frozen fruits. You can experiment adding some raw honey (or sweeten the ice cream with xylitol or stevia), soya crème, lemon juice, plant-based milk, a little bit of carob powder, ground cashew or other nuts to improve the flavour.
– Avoid monosodium glutamate (MSG)
– If you are on statins learn how to get even better results in lowering cholesterol using natural remedies as statins cause brain and neurological damage:
– Sulforaphane might be a promising therapeutic agent for cognitive enhancement in Alzheimer’s disease. >
– Eat green leafy vegetables to get folate (folic acid):
– Royal jelly had anti- Alzheimer’s disease properties. >
– Vitamin E, acetyl-l-carnitine and α-lipoic acid are superior to the drug donepezil (Aricept) at normalizing biomarkers associated with Alzheimer’s disease in an animal model. >
– Coenzyme Q10 reduces beta-amyloid plaque in an APP/PS1 transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. >
– Magnesium (citrate or another well absorbed type): 400 to 800 mg 60 min before breakfast and 400 to 800 mg 1 to 3 hours before bed.
– Alpha lipoic acid: 2 times a day 250-300mg. Alpha lipoic appears to be an effective neuroprotective agent in Alzheimer’s disease. >
– A large body of studies suggests that selenium may be beneficial in reducing Alzheimer’s pathology. >
– A low level of B vitamins is often noted in patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. >
– Avoid foods containing Arachidonic Acid (animal products). According to Dr. Greger, “Arachidonic acid in our diet produces inflammatory compounds which may inflame our brain. The omnivores ate 9 times as much arachidonic acid than the vegetarians, which is not surprising, given that arachidonic acid is not found in plants!” (Michael Greger M.D., Improving Mood Through Diet, 29/09/2011)
– Don’t use stimulants such as alcohol.
– Learn to control stress and think positive.
– Alternative hot and cold showers > will improve circulation, elimination of toxins and will stimulate the nervous and immune system. Start with hot shower, and after about 5 minutes when your body is warm enough take a short (3 min) cold shower slowly reducing the temperature. Then alternate the flow of water from hot to cold, back and forth 5-7 times in a row. Before using this treatment consult your physician first if you have any chronic health conditions especially if they are associated with heart.
– Increase SEROTONIN! Because of the extensive serotonergic denervation that has been observed in the AD brain and the important role played by serotonin in both, cognition and behavioural control, this neurotransmitter has become a focus of a research effort to identify new treatments for AD.
We know that serotonin is very important in improving memory, fighting depression, fatigue, or insomnia. Serotonin is the “feel good” hormone and neurotransmitter which helps us regulate moods and use good judgement. Unfortunately, the older we get the less serotonin we tend to produce. Dr. Carolyn Meltzer’s research has demonstrated that with age serotonin receptors decrease by over 50%. People who struggle with overweight, obesity, and depression, those who commit serious crime as well as people who commit suicide have very low level of this extremely important hormone.
Serotonin deficiency can be caused by sedentary lifestyle (lack of physical activity), insufficient light during the day, refined and low in nutrients diet, use of stimulants (alcohol, nicotine, coffee, tea, cola drinks, chocolate and other caffeine products), or insufficient amount of sleep.
– Exercise in the morning outside to boost serotonin!
In the beautiful book „Ministry of Healing” Ellen G. White wrote that, “The sick, shut within four walls, look out on houses and pavements, with perhaps not even a glimpse of blue sky or sunshine, of grass or flower or tree. Shut up in this way, they brood over their suffering and sorrow, and become a prey to their own sad thoughts. The pure air, the glad sunshine, the flowers and trees, and outdoor exercise amid these surroundings, are health- and life-giving. Outdoor life is the only remedy that many need. It has a wonderful power to heal diseases caused by the excitements and excesses of fashionable life, a life that weakens and destroys the powers of body, mind, and soul. How glad would they be to sit in the open air, rejoice in the sunshine, and breathe the fragrance of tree and flower! There are life-giving properties in the balsam of the pine, in the fragrance of the cedar and the fir, and other trees also have properties that are health restoring. In nature may always be found something to divert the attention of the sick from themselves and direct their thoughts to God. The beauty of nature leads them to think of the heavenly home, where there will be nothing to mar the loveliness, nothing to taint or destroy, nothing to cause disease or death.”
– Increase consumption of foods high in Tryptophan (to boost Serotonin): Cooked soy beans, Tofu, beans, lentils, ground sesame, tahini, humus, etc.
According to Dr. Michael Greger, “Prozac appears to work by boosting serotonin levels but it can cause significant side effects. How about using foods high in serotonin, such as plantains, pineapples, bananas, kiwis, plums, and tomatoes. Plants contain dopamine, serotonin, and melatonin at concentrations high enough to actually alter levels in our bloodstream. We don’t need serotonin in our blood, though; we need it in our brain. Serotonin can’t cross the blood-brain barrier, but the precursor to serotonin can. This precursor is an amino acid called tryptophan that we get from our diet. When people think tryptophan, they think Thanksgiving turkey, but researchers at MIT dispelled those myths about a decade ago. Tryptophan is one amino acid among many found in turkey (or meat and dairy) proteins, and they compete with one another for transport across the blood-brain barrier into the brain. Since tryptophan is present in most animal proteins in relatively small quantities it gets muscled out of the way. When we eat plant foods, though, the carbohydrates trigger a release of insulin that causes our muscles to take up many of the non-tryptophan amino acids as fuel, potentially leaving our tryptophan first in line for brain access. Animal foods can even make things worse. In the experiment, those given a turkey/egg/cheese breakfast experienced a drop in tryptophan levels, whereas those given a waffle/orange juice breakfast saw their levels rise.”
– Boost Dopamine levels!
– Take 5HTP (tryptophan supplement).
– Make sure you have some Complex carbohydrates everyday in the form of fresh and dried fruits, bananas, etc. as they increase ability of tryptophan to pass blood/brain barrier.
– Take Vitamin B6, B1, B3 (Niacin), Magnesium citrate, Zinc, Folic acid, as they are required to produce serotonin.
Read more about DEPRESSION AND SEROTONIN >
– Light therapy. Expose your body to sunlight whenever it is possible or use strong light imitating sunlight.
– Increase intake of Omega 3 fatty acids: Chlorella, ground flax seed, soaked in water chia seeds, good quality organic Omega 3 fish oil with antioxidant to prevent oxidation (HealthAid offers a very good quality molecularly distilled Omega 3 fish oil >).
– If possible you can also add NAC to the above list: 2 – 3 times 200mg.
If you can’t afford all above mentioned use at least the three first ones.
– A study demonstrated Ginkgo biloba is as effective as the drug donepezil (Aricept) in improving symptoms of Alzheimer’s, but with much less side effects.>
Please read this extremaly important part (LINK) very carefully as it reveals the secret of finding true source of strenght necessary to overcome bad habits and will help you to gain a powerful motivation to not only practice but also enjoy the new and very healthy way of life.
– The CDC’s HEADS UP Resource Center provides free online training for coaches and clinicians about concussions and head injuries.
RELATED ARTICLES & LINKS
– Scientists found CTE and Alzheimer’s in soccer pros’ brains > https://qz.com/910901/is-soccer-about-to-go-the-way-of-american-football-scientists-found-cte-and-alzheimers-in-soccer-pros-brains/
– Alzheimer’s and Concussion-Related CTE May Spread in the Brain via Common Mechanism. Research is First to Suggest That Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy is a Prion Disease. https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2016/12/405096/alzheimers-and-concussion-related-cte-may-spread-brain-common-mechanism
– Concussion (2015 movie trailer) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Io6hPdC41RM
– Ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez had ‘severe’ CTE brain disease. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/09/21/ex-nfl-star-aaron-hernandez-had-severe-cte-brain-disease/
– Amanda L. Woermana B. Atsushi Aoyagia C. et al (2016) Tau prions from Alzheimer’s disease and chronic traumatic encephalopathy patients propagate in cultured cells. http://www.pnas.org/content/113/50/E8187.full
– Brewer GJ, Kaur S. Zinc Deficiency and Zinc Therapy Efficacy with Reduction of Serum Free Copper in Alzheimer’s Disease. Int J Alzheimers Dis. 2013;2013:586365. Epub 2013 Oct 10.
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