At Boston University School of Medicine, a research team led by Lee Goldstein, MD, PhD, identified the mechanism of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). This neurodegenerative disease is associated with repeated brain injuries. Firstly, the researchers evaluated postmortem brains of teenage athletes in the acute-subacute period after head impact injury and found the earliest fingerprints of neurodegenerative disease. Next, using a pre-clinical model of CTE, the team determined how head injuries are related to brain damage and, ultimately, to CTE. The study identified the head injury itself as the cause of CTE.