The Youth Sport Podcast
Dr. Thor Stein MD PhD
This episode is the second part of a 2 part conversation on CTE, ALS and contact sports. If you haven’t listened to part 1 yet, you can find it here.
In part 2 of my conversation I get to learn more about what is going on in the brain right from the researcher himself!
Dr. Stein’s research interests involve the study of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). He studies the role of trauma in the abnormal accumulation of tau and proteins involved in RNA processing. He is an acting neuropathologist involved with the brain banks for the Boston University Alzheimer Disease Center, CTE Center, Framingham Heart Study, as well as the National Veterans Administration ALS brain bank.
Dr. Stein is part of the Neuropathology Core of the SLI-BU CTE Brain Bank, where he conducts neuropathological analysis of brain tissue and helps maintain the SLI-BU CTE Brain Bank.
After chatting with Matthew Onyshko in part 1 of this conversation I really wanted to make sure that we talked to someone who is doing the work to help athletes like Matt.
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Here’s what Dr. Stein and I talked about (don’t worry, Dr. Stein broke down all of this information in a way for all of us to understand!)
- Why Dr. Stein studies the brain
- Why Dr. Stein’s research is important to him personally
- How to play the sports we love while keeping kids safe
- What is ALS?
- What is CTE?
- What happens when the diseases combine?
- What is the brain bank?
- Who’s donating their brain?
- What is the research sharing by studying these brains?
- Is research skewed because of the brain bank selection?
- How concerned should we be with kids in contact sports?
- Do we need to have full blown concussions to cause trauma or do the small head impacts do damage as well?
- Can we detect CTE in life?
- Do we know when to stop playing contact sports in order to make sure we don’t have serious damage?
- Time played does matter!
- Is it worth it to play contact sports?
- Advice for sport organizations to target kids to reduce the amounts of exposure to head impacts.
- Impactful stories from the brain bank
- What exactly does Tau protein do?
- What the research says about Tau
- Are specific positions in sport more susceptible to developing Tau pathology?
- Why we can’t detect Tau yet on living people.
- Is developing Tau protein preventable?
- Kids, sleep and brain health
- Brain, repair and recovery
- We don’t know what the future holds but can we stay the course for the best possible outcome?
- Advice for the NCAA and NFL
- Advice for parents and coaches putting their kids in contact sports.
And now…the full conversation: