Whereas previous studies found out that woodpeckers have evolved to the point that they didn’t suffer brain damage from banging their heads against trees, a new study challenges this theory. Brain scans performed on these curious birds revealed that their brains contain the same amount of Tau protein similar to that of patients with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.
Woodpeckers as Predisposed to Brain Damage as Professional Football Players
During the late ‘70s, woodpeckers were extensively studied, especially for their capacity of casually banging their heads against trees for hours at an end. At 1976 study concluded that woodpeckers could not sustain any brain damage, as they’re evolved certain traits that helped them sustained repeated hits.
However, a recent study featuring the same goofy critter revealed that woodpeckers are not invulnerable to brain damages and are, in fact, as predisposed to them as professional football players.
This recent discovery comes all the way from Boston University, where a team concluded that the birds are not as though as we’ve previously believed. During the study, a team of scientists took brain scans of 10 woodpeckers belonging to different species such as the yellow-bellied sapsucker and the northern flicker which they’ve compared to other non-tree-banging species, which served as a control group for the study.
The scans revealed a significant amount of Tau proteins inside the birds’ brain, proteins which in humans is the primary indicator of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE. According to the latest studies, CTE is usually diagnosed in individuals who have sustained repeated hits to the head such as professional football players and boxers.
The study, which was recently published in the PLOS One journal, concludes by saying that brain similarities in terms of Tau protein accretion will help doctors better understand and treat patients with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.
Image source: Wikipedia