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Re:Cognition Health’s experts in brain injury work with the latest developments in brain health, including the diagnosis and treatment of degenerative brain diseases.

Over the past 4 years, Re:Cognition Health has been developing sophisticated approaches to diagnosing mild traumatic brain injury, including the most sophisticated functional MR imaging techniques. Over the past year these techniques have been deployed to detect, successfully, objective evidence of chronic and progressive brain injury in international rugby players. By using the most detailed DTI imaging technique with MRI scanning, to support the clinical assessment of potential brain damage, it has been possible to improve the probability of identifying rugby players with mild, chronic, traumatic encephalopathy CTE.

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CTE is a type of progressive brain disease caused by repeated blows to the head. This type of brain injury was formally acknowledged, first, by the NFL in American football players, but it is being increasingly associated with professional rugby and football players. CTE leads to a progressive neurodegenerative disease, resulting in dementia with related physical and cognitive symptoms, such as memory problems, a decline in thinking ability, confusion, aggression, depression and changes in personality; all of which can be debilitating and life-changing for those affected.

Using DTI (diffusion tensor imaging) MR scans of the brain, Re:Cognition Health has been able to identify, objective evidence of specific structural damage in the brain, suspected from clinical assessment, but not visible on conventional state-of-the-art MRI scans.

Dr Emer MacSweeney, Consultant Neuroradiologist and CEO at Re:Cognition Health comments:

“Through the highly advanced DTI scanning we are able to identify structural changes in the brain and confirm a diagnosis of brain damage, previously missed, as this is not visible on high field, state of the art, conventional MRI scans. Whilst conventional MRI is a very powerful imaging tool, it doesn’t have the sophistication to identify CTE. Obtaining an early and accurate diagnosis of any brain condition is paramount to the subsequent management and treatment pathway. Annual brain checks should become mandatory for professional players, to help safeguard against brain disease caused by contact sports.”

It has been recognised for many decades that contact sports such as boxing, rugby and football can lead to chronic progressive brain damage, neurological symptoms and eventually dementia. Re:Cognition Health supports the notion that drastic action needs to be taken by governing bodies to change the way the contact sports players are monitored and advised, in order to reduce the risk of developing chronic brain disease.

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