It’s been coming into the spotlight more recently but NFL players have been dealing with brain injuries since the sport was first played. Combine the endless hard hits with the bigger, faster, stronger athletes and brains that weren’t meant to be jiggled like that? Serious problems.
But the real problem is, no one knows exactly what’s happening. They know it’s CTE, or Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, but CTE is a rather mysterious condition. Luckily, a lab in Boston is trying to figure it out.
Popular Mechanics took a tour of the facility and their process in obtaining brains for study and it’s fascinating. From how brains get to the lab—a courier service where a brain is placed in two sealed bags surrounded by ice—to what they do when the brain gets there—placed in a solution to firm the brain up—to the people who sign up to donate their brains—former players’ families—and everything else, like cutting thin slices of the brain, staining it and hunting for tau (the protein that’s often in the brains of CTE patients). These people can make sense out of our mushy gray brain! Read the full report at Popular Mechanics. [Popular Mechanics, Image Credit: Popular Mechanics]