April Monthly Virtual Meeting
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Business Meeting – 6:45 pm
Technical Program – 7:15 pm (Immediately following business meeting)
SACP Technical Program
Thor Stein, MD, PhD, Boston University
“American Football and the Development of Neurodegenerative Disease”
Repetitive head impacts that occur in contact sports such as American football, boxing, and hockey have been associated with the development of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). In addition to CTE, we have found that repetitive head impacts are associated with the development of multiple pathologies, including those of Alzheimer disease and Parkinson’s disease. CTE is defined by the pathological accumulation of the protein tau within neurons at the depths of sulci and around blood vessels. However, it is common for multiple other pathologies to be present and altered in contact sports athletes with CTE. Here I will review the development of pathology in the brain and discuss recent data on associations with duration of play of American football and other contact sports with CTE, Alzheimer disease, and Parkinson’s disease pathologies.
Thor Stein is Associate Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Associate Director of the Neuropathology Core of the BU Alzheimer’s Disease Center as well as staff neuropathologist at the VA Boston Healthcare System (VABHS). He completed his MD/PhD training at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health at Madison and his residency and fellowship training in neuropathology at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Stein’s research interests involve the study of neurodegenerative diseases, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), Alzheimer disease (AD), and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). He studies the role of trauma in the development and acceleration of multiple types of neurodegenerative disease. He has published extensively on the development and modeling of age- and trauma-related neuropathology, including the most comprehensive studies to date on beta-amyloid deposition, cerebral amyloid angiopathy, and Lewy body disease following repetitive mild traumatic brain injury. He uses sophisticated statistical modeling to examine the effect of head injury exposure on beta-amyloid, Lewy body, and tau deposition in the brain as well as the role of modifiers such as age and common genetic polymorphisms.
Dr. Stein is the Principle Investigator on numerous grants, including a VA Merit Award on the role of traumatic brain injury in the development of AD and CTE as well as multiple NIH R01s focused on determining the link between epigenetic modifications, lipidomic profiles, and pathological changes in the brain as they relate to cognitive decline. He is Project PI of a NIH U54 grant aimed at determining the role of repetitive head impacts in the development of multiple neurodegenerative pathologies.
Dr. Stein is the Associate Director of the Neuropathology Core for Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease and CTE Center. He is also a neuropathologist for numerous regional and national brain banks, including the Boston University Alzheimer Disease and CTE Center, Framingham Heart Study, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) National ALS Biorepository, as well as the National Veterans Administration ALS, Gulf War Veterans Illnesses, and PTSD biorepositories. He has won multiple awards, including the American Association of Neuropathologists Moore Award, Asao Hirano Award, and the Spivak Neuroscience Award. He is a member of American Association of Neuropathologists and College of American Pathologists. He is an editorial board member of Scientific Reports and the Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology. Dr. Stein has been invited for multiple lectures and special meetings to present his work, including the Erlanger Neurology conference (2015), National Association of State Head Injury Administrators annual meeting (2014), Annual Clinical Assembly of Osteopathic Surgeons (2014), Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire annual meeting (2015), 5th Venusberg Meeting on Neuroinflammation in Bonn, Germany (2017), American Academy of Neurology (2018-20), and Old Servants Symposium on “Head trauma in sports and risk for dementia” at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden (2018).