Health Buzz: Signs of CTE Found in Living Ex-NFL Players

Getting inked? Your guide to tattoo safety; welcome to the fantasy diet!

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PET Scans Reveal Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in Living Ex-NFL Players

Researchers have found evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in five living ex-NFL players, according to a study published yesterday in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. CTE is the degenerative brain disease that's been found in athletes and soldiers who've been the targets of repeated head hits and concussions. For years, scientists could only find the disease in patients who had already passed away, reports The New York Times. But in this study, researchers used positron emission tomography (PET) scans to find CTE's signature tau protein deposits in living ex-football players who showed symptoms, which include mood swings, depression, and cognitive problems. The study is too small to initiate the use of PET scans in folks who don't already show CET symptoms anytime soon, but it's a step in a positive direction. "Early detection of tau proteins may help us understand what is happening sooner in the brains of these injured athletes," Gary Small, lead author and professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the Semel Institute at UCLA told The New York Times. "Our findings may also guide us in developing strategies and interventions to protect those with early symptoms, rather than try to repair damage once it becomes extensive."

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  • Getting Inked? Your Guide to Tattoo Safety

    Popeye flexes an anchor on each forearm. Mike Tyson sports tribal markings on his face. Johnny Depp labels himself a wino on his bicep, after his never-ending love for Winona Ryder, well, ended. It may not seem odd to see tattoos on cartoon characters and celebrities, or inked onto our favorite tattooed clichés—the biker, the thug, the hipster. But look around you. One in five U.S. adults (read: "regular" people) has a tattoo, according to a February 2012 Harris poll. If that number is surprising, consider another study, this one by Pew Research in 2010, which specifically looked at Millennials. Although nearly four in 10 Millennials sport a tattoo, 70 percent say their ink is hidden beneath clothing. So every fifth co-worker may be hiding a little something beneath his blazer.

    If you've ever itched for ink—to wear a permanent mark of love or nostalgia or Dave Matthews Band lyrics—we've set you up with a guide to make sure it happens healthfully.

    First, figure out if this is really something you want to do. "You should feel so strongly about [a tattoo] that you're restless without it," says Scott Campbell, a Brooklyn-based tattoo artist who's inked folks like Penelope Cruz, Josh Hartnett, and Orlando Bloom. "If you have to make the decision of 'should I, or shouldn't I'—you shouldn't." [Read more: Getting Inked? Your Guide to Tattoo Safety]

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    • Welcome to Fantasy Diet!

      If, like me, you are of a certain age, I trust you remember the show Fantasy Island, writes U.S. News blogger David Katz. Mr. Roarke, deftly rendered by Ricardo Montalban, was ever impeccable in spotless white and seemingly unflappable. He was, presumably, representing God—or God's understudy.

      Mr. Roarke would greet all guests with a hearty "welcome to Fantasy Island!" He would then proceed to divert their fantasies. On a weekly basis, guests discovered that what they thought they wanted was a distraction from what truly mattered. A bracing dose of constructive reality won out over fantasy every time.

      Do you think, maybe, there's a message there for the rest of us?

      This time of year, fantasies turn preferentially to weight loss. We have heard that for 2013, weight loss yet again tops the list of popular resolutions. And if we managed to miss that memo, we would get much the same impression from the sudden deluge of ads for weight-loss programs, lotions, and potions in print, online, and on air. [Read more: Welcome to Fantasy Diet!]

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