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Nov 23, 2013 06:33 AM EST

Paul Allen Donates $2.4 million For Study on Traumatic Brain Injuries

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Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder and Seattle Seahawks owner, has decided to fund a two-year, $2.4 million study on possible fallouts of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) including dementia, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The study will be a joint project by the Allen Institute for Brain Science and the University of Washington.

Allen is the only NFL owner who owns a brain research lab. Researchers will study over 500 donated brains from the Group Health brain bank to find if head injuries can be  linked to health problems in late life like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. They will also look into the reactions that occur in the brain immediately after such traumas.

Among the donated brains, nearly 1 in 5 has suffered some kind of brain injury during their lifetime, either from car accidents or war injuries.

 "Awareness of TBI has grown in recent years, but our understanding of what actually happens to the brain in the years following that type of injury is still a great mystery," Paul G. Allen Family Foundation V.P. Susan M. Coliton said. "We are proud to support this important work," Seattle Pi reports.

Dr. Ed Lein hopes the finding benefits the sports industry, but said that the study is 'decidedly not focused on sports-related injuries,' Oregon Live reports.

Brain injuries related to concussion and contact sports have grabbed attention across the world. Recently, the NFL reached a $765 million settlement of concussion lawsuits filed by more than 4,500 players and their families that accused the league of hiding dangers of lasting brain damages.

The league's failure to provide information about degenerative brain diseases has resulted in several athletes suffering from memory loss, depression, and declining cognitive ability and suicide.

 Although not proved scientifically, researchers have established a link between head trauma (that occurs in contact sports such as football) and the development of Alzheimer's-causing plaques, or amyloid deposits, in the brain later in life, Medical Daily reports.

Other research into brain injury is also being conducted simultaneously. NFL has donated $30 million to a project that is being led by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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