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January 2018

The FIELD study launches

January marks the start of our study ‘Football’s InfluencE on Lifelong health and Dementia (FIELD)’, which is supported by The Football Association and  Professional Footballer’s Association.

Given growing anxieties over perceived increased risk of dementia in former professional footballers, establishing robust data on late neurodegenerative outcomes of participation in football is a priority to inform public health policy, and the sport. Importantly, insight into risk of neurodegenerative disease must be read in context of wider lifelong health outcomes to permit adequately informed discussions on the public health implications of football participation.

The FIELD Study is designed to investigate a wide range of physical and mental health outcomes, including neurodegenerative disease, in former professional footballers.

In addition, we are hoping to register as many former athletes exposed to brain injury, including but not restricted to footballers, rugby players and boxers, to our brain donation programme to support ongoing research into degenerative brain disease linked to brain injury.

For more information on the FIELD Study, please visit:

For more information on registering for brain donation, please visit:


Fellowship student visit

In January, the Glasgow Brain Injury Research Group  welcomed John Arena, fellowship student from the University of Pennsylvania, to the lab. 

During his visit John contributed to  ongoing studies in GBIRG and gained experience in working with the Glasgow TBI  Archive. There was also time for a break from bench work to  take in a Glasgow Warriors match and see professional rugby first hand.



GBIRG Newest recruit

The GBIRG are happy to announce that Tess Atkinson has been recruited as our laboratory technician!

In 2016, Tess joined the group for a summer internship in Neuropathology, and we are thrilled that she is now a full-time member of our team! 


November 2017

GBIRG welcomes RSN to lab

The Glasgow Brain Injury Research Group were delighted to welcome recently retired Pau and Canada rugby player Cameron Pierce of The Rugby Safety Network (RSN) to the lab to discuss concussion in sport, player welfare and our ongoing research.

Plans for further discussion and collaboration between GBIRG and RSN are in the pipeline, watch this space for updates.


Alan Shearer: Dementia, Football and Me set for transmission Sunday 12th November, BBC One – 11.30pm


Glasgow Paediatric Research Day 2017

On Friday 10th November, Dr Fullerton presented a talk on ‘Paediatric head injury in the West of Scotland’ at GlasgoPaediatric Research day 2017. She discussed some surprising data on the distribution of head injury in the West of Scotland and the mechanisms of injury that are involved  and won 1st prize for her presentation!

October 2017

Funding for post-traumatic epilepsy research

Dr Willie Stewart, Honorary Clinical Associate Professor, Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, and collaborators at the University of Pennsylvania have been successful in securing funding from Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE) to support a three year programme of collaborative studies directed towards understanding the ‘Neuropathological mechanisms of epileptogenesis in post-traumatic epilepsy’. 

Post-traumatic epilepsy (PTE) represents a frequent and debilitating complication of traumatic brain injury (TBI), and is implicated in an estimated 5% of all epilepsy in the community. In contrast to non-traumatic epilepsy, the neuropathology of PTE remains virtually unreported in the literature. Utilising the unique resources of the Glasgow TBI archive, Dr Stewart and colleagues will coordinate a series of studies intended to characterise the spectrum of pathology in survivors of PTE.

July 2017

New addition to the G.B.I.R.G…

Tess Atkinson recently graduated from Glasgow University with a Masters in Neuroscience and has joined the G.B.I.R.G for a summer Internship. Tess previously worked in the University of Maastricht researching post-traumatic stress disorder and Dr Cobb’s lab at the University of Glasgow researching Rett’s Syndrome. She is particularly interested in the pathology of disease and brain disorders – so she is in the right place! We are happy to have her on board and hope she enjoys her time here!

Heading for trouble: is dementia a game changer for football?

The recent spark in media coverage on the potential link between heading and dementia has dramatically increased public interest, but has left a number of unanswered questions. 

The recently published editorial ‘Heading for trouble: is dementia a game changer for football?’ discusses the current position of science on heading, and the link between football, dementia and CTE.

Click here for full text

National Neurotrauma Society Symposium 2017 

At almost 8,000ft above sea level Dr Stewart and Dr Fullerton attended the National Neurotrauma Society symposium in Snowbird, Utah. NNS put together an exciting symposium comprised of plenary seminars and break-out sessions where world leading experts shared their opinions, most recent research and findings on neurotrauma.

A central focus of Neurotrauma 2017 was the highly interactive poster sessions, in which Dr Fullerton presented her poster “Traumatic brain injury survival is associated with widespread cerebral amyloid angiopathy”.

The innovative workshops covered pivotal topics from writing effective publications and grants to improving scientific communication. Dr Stewart held a successful workshop on Human TBI Neuropathology which stimulated discussions on the mechanisms, histology and assessment of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).


April 2017

Alan Shearer: ‘Dementia: Football’s Silent Shame?’                                                       

Former England captain, Alan Shearer visited the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital to film his BBC One documentary on research linking football and dementia.

“The more I read about it, the more I felt this was a subject that could no longer be ignored.” – Shearer

The ex-Newcastle and Blackburn striker interviewed Dr Willie Stewart in a bid to find out if footballers are more at risk from suffering dementia in later life.

After a tour around the lab, Shearer and Dr Stewart discussed topics from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and concussion, to research priorities in sports traumatic brain injury (TBI) and outcomes for players.

Without giving too much away, Shearer’s BBC One documentary ‘Dementia: Football’s Silent Shame?’ will be aired late summer.

March 2017

Dr Willie Stewart secures funding from US National Institute of Neurological Disorders
Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology Honorary Clinical Associate Professor Dr Willie Stewart and collaborators at the University of Pennsylvania have been successful in securing  funding from the US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to support a five year programme of multi-centre collaborative studies directed towards the Neuropathological Characterization of ‘CTE’ (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy).

They have also been awarded  funding to continue their ongoing research programme titled ‘TBI (traumatic brain injury) and Amyloid-Beta Pathologies’ for a further five years. In these ongoing studies, Dr Stewart’s lab will explore pathways contributing to amyloid genesis and clearance after TBI, in particular, the contribution of vascular pathology to post-TBI neurodegeneration.