On C.T.E. and Athletes, Science Remains in Its Infancy

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Dr. Ann McKee, the chief of neuropathology at the V.A. Boston Healthcare System and a professor of neurology and pathology at Boston University’s medical school.

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Shiho Fukada for The New York Times

BEDFORD, Mass. — In a small room banked by refrigerators of preserved brains, a pathologist held a specimen up to the light in frank admiration. Then it was time to cut — once in half and then a thick slice from the back, the tissue dense and gray-pink, teeming with folds and swirls.

It was the brain of a professional running back.

“There,” said Dr. Ann McKee, the chief of neuropathology at the V.A. Boston Healthcare System and a professor of neurology and pathology…

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