Former NFL star working on ‘intercellular’ helmet to curb concussions, CTE

Dec. 26 (UPI) — Nick Lowery says the film Concussion precisely portrays mind accidents and the toll they take on gamers within the National Football League.

The former All-Pro kicker watched quite a few buddies and teammates debilitated by concussions, together with pal Mike Webster, who was discovered to have Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and died on the age of 50.

Lowery additionally watched the likes of buddies Junior Seau, Ken Stabler and Dave Duerson die once they had been discovered to have the illness. Now he is working to ensure extra lives aren’t taken. Teammates with Webster for 2 seasons on the Kansas City Chiefs, he is working with Kannalife Sciences to create an intercellular helmet. The firm can also be doing analysis to develop cannabinoid-based remedies for CTE. Cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds present in Cannabis.

“How can we allow this to happen? And it’s not because football is the worst sport. It’s the best sport … but the bottom line is how can we let this happen to future Mike Websters,” Lowery mentioned. “What can we do to make sure this doesn’t happen and preserve this game? Who are the stewards of the game if it’s not us?”

Kannalife Sciences has an unique patent for commercialization of CBD analysis for CTE. Lowery mentioned he’s hopeful the corporate could be very shut to implementing merchandise within the sport, which will likely be measurable and scale back the time it takes to recuperate from concussions and the variety of concussions.

The NFL reported a 13.5 p.c enhance in recognized concussions from 2016 to 2017. The league introduced in October that concussions through the 2018 preseason had been down 13 p.c.

Several research have been printed relating to the hits that lead to mind accidents and probably CTE, together with a 2017 Boston University report which discovered 110 of 111 brains of former NFL gamers it examined had the degenerative illness linked to repeated blows to the pinnacle.

Inside the helmet

The NFL pledged $100 million in 2016 to help unbiased medical analysis and engineering developments in neuroscience-related matters and has made almost 50 rule modifications since 2002 within the title of participant security. The league devoted $60 million of its pledge towards technological analysis, together with makes an attempt to enhance helmet security and the opposite $40 million towards the funding of medical analysis relating to head accidents.

But Lowery mentioned these figures ought to have been flipped.

“There should be an extra $20 million focused on this intercellular helmet,” he mentioned. “If we do that, we will have tremendous impact to bring these products to the market more quickly.”

He additionally mentioned Kannalife Sciences would love to cooperate with the league and NFL Players Association, if given the chance.

Dr. Erin Manning, a neurologist at Hospital for Special Surgery, mentioned she believes the league’s modifications are a step in the proper course.

“I think the biggest part of all of this is education and the fact that the athletes are more aware of the symptoms and what to expect,” she mentioned. “I think a lot of this depends on their reporting of the symptoms. If you cant get the athletes to buy into all of it, then all of the awareness you can have is not going to be helpful.”

Manning thinks improved helmet security may help the difficulty, however is only one of a number of measures wanted.

“I think that if you have the right type of helmets, there are some that can probably be prevented,” Manning mentioned. “But there are some that even if you have the best helmet, it’s not going to prevent every concussion because some of them don’t even depend on a direct blow to the head. Like a blow to the neck or a secondary problem that involves transmission of the force to the brain. The helmet isn’t the only answer.”

“It’s not going to be the only thing that helps prevent concussions.”

A gridiron automotive crash

NFL collisions are comparable to automotive crashes. Two fast-paced events smashing collectively, smashing their pads and typically smacking heads that leads to mind accidents. A 2014 examine reported within the American Surgeon recommended that THC can defend neurons throughout traumatic mind accidents, like these attributable to site visitors accidents.

Trauma surgeon David Plurad led a evaluation of 446 traumatic mind damage circumstances at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center from January 2010 by December 2012, discovering that the sufferers who examined optimistic for THC had a mortality charge of two.four p.c, whereas those that didn’t have THC of their system had a mortality charge almost 5 instances larger.

Dr. Bennett Omalu — portrayed by Will Smith in Concussion — is credited with discovering CTE throughout a 2002 post-mortem of Webster.

“Whenever you engage in any human activity whereby your head is exposed to repeated blows, there is a 100 percent risk exposure to permanent brain damage,” Omalu instructed MSNBC in 2017.

CTE is just one of many illnesses related to mind injury stemming from repeated blows to the human head.

Lowery mentioned Kannalife Sciences is poised to do human analysis and show its findings to the Food and Drug Administration. He mentioned the FDA “needs to see that the neuroplasticity or independence of individual neurons protects [the brain] so it literally becomes an intercellular helmet.”

Will Smith (R) and Dr. Bennet Omalu attend a screening of the movement image sports activities drama “Concussion” in 2015 at Regency Village Theatre within the Westwood part of Los Angeles. File picture by Jim Ruymen/UPI

Manning mentioned there wants to be extra exams developed to diagnose concussions and CBD analysis continues to be within the early phases.

“I actually think that’s the most important thing, if there is some objective test that can be developed that can diagnose via blood test or a certain kind of brain imaging,” Manning mentioned. “I think that would be very helpful and probably one of the more valuable things that can be done at this point, other than prevention.”

Breaking the sample

Lowery has seen it repeatedly — the sample of ache main his soccer buddies to opioids, alcohol, habit and loss of life. That ache led Webster to someday tase himself into unconsciousness so as to sleep. The sample in the end led to the lack of “Iron Mike” and so many others.

Kannalife neuro-pharmacologist Dr. Douglas Brenneman instructed Dateline NBC in May CBD might have the capability to overturn the opioid epidemic. There had been greater than 70,000 drug overdose deaths within the United States in 2017, in accordance to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While Lowery is working to scale back concussions, one other former teammate of Webster has determined to take on CTE and the science surrounding it.

Longtime Pittsburgh Steelers working again Merril Hoge co-authored a guide titled: Brainwashed: The Bad Science Behind CTE and the Plot to Destroy Football!. Lowery — who’s buddies with Hoge — mentioned he hasn’t completed the guide, however he would not assume the dialogue and ongoing analysis relating to mind accidents related to soccer are hurting the sport.

Hoge suffered 12 concussions throughout his soccer profession and retired at 29 years outdated. He later gained a lawsuit in opposition to the Chicago Bears’ former group physician after a choose dominated he failed to warn Hoge concerning the severity of his mind accidents throughout his profession.

“What’s hurting the game is simply not figuring out how we reduce the impact of concussions and these hits that are part of football … There is very consistent and powerful evidence that we are on the right track,” Lowery mentioned. “It’s not about demonizing the game. The game is very healthy, but it has a sickness we have to take care of for its long term health.”

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