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Are there genetic markers for concussions?

Jon Libby Biology 100 31 2-25-14

Summary: Genetic testing has been used to determine paternity on a daytime talk show so researchers figured they could use genetic testing to find other new discoveries. In this article, researchers did just that and found links between certain genes and a persons susceptibility to getting a concussion. Scientists researched the genes linked to how the ions in a brain that are affected by a concussion in hopes that they could help prevent concussions in people young and old. In an investigation of the genes that control the flow of calcium ions, researchers found that an influx of calcium ions can lead to neuron dysfunction. So they looked for proteins that help control calcium, which lead to a long list of proteins with coding that could be in more than one genes. Another route researchers have taken is researching APOE genes, which has three variations APOE e2, e3, and e4. These genes control the way that neurons are repaired (or arent) after a head injury. The APOE e4 has been specifically linked to concussi ons and mild traumatic brain injury and is also associated with increased risk of Alzheimers disease. APOE e4 has a link to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. Researchers warn that there is not going to be a CTE gene, because it is such a multifaceted kind of neurologically degenerative disease, like all of them. They also said that APOE e4 is a susceptibility gene, not a deterministic gene. This means that if you have the APOE e4 gene, you arent a lock to get CTE, but you have an increased chanc e of getting it than those who dont have it.

All of this research tells us that we may know soon if there is a genetic predisposition to concussions and CTE, and that knowing a persons genetic make-up might help people make educated decisions that could help prevent concussions and degenerative diseases.

Topic: The topic of this article is whether there are genes that could play a role in a persons susceptibility to concussions and CTE. Researchers found that there is a gene called APOE e4 that increases risk of concussions or CTE.

Scientific Pathways: Testing Ideas: Scientists wanted to find out if there was a connection between certain genes and a persons susceptibility to getting a concussion. Exploration & Discovery: Scientists researched how an influx of calcium ions were related to concussions, which lead to a dead end. But then they researched a gene called the APOE gene, which they discovered that the e4 variation of the APOE gene was directly linked to concussions and CTE. The APOE e4 gene was responsible for the lack of repairing of brain cells. Community Analysis: Researchers worked with a scientist at Temple University, where they studied the genes that control the flow of calcium ions. This is where they found that an influx of calcium ions can lead to neuron dysfunction and eventually ran into a roadblock. Benefits & Outcomes: The outcome of this study was more questions than answers as to whether the APOE e4 gene indicates a proclivity for concussions or CTE or it might not. But the benefits of the study is scientists are a step closer to finding out if there is a genetic

predisposition to concussions and CTE, and with that knowledge, knowing someones genetic make-up could help people prevent concussions and degenerative diseases.

Application: This article is hard to apply to my personal life, as I am unsure if I have the APOE e4 gene or not, nor have I ever had a concussion. But I am curious to know if I, or anyone in my family, might have it.