The world of sport is waking up to the dangers of concussion-related dementia. Stars from rugby league in Australia, football in England and NFL players in the US have all been touched by chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Their experiences have sparked a global debate about safety in tough, uncompromising sports. A Conversation investigations team decided to look at how this horrible condition affects the families of sportspeople – many of whom had no idea that their profession could be putting them at risk of dementia. We found out how some of the bereaved are using their own experience of personal tragedy to help others as part of our Uncharted Brain series.

Elsewhere in the series, neurobiologist Ruth Itzhaki opens up about a career dedicated to examining one of the more controversial lines of Alzheimer’s disease research. She’s spent over 30 years looking into whether certain viruses, like the common cold sore virus, could have a role in causing it. Despite years of hostility towards the theory, the evidence backing it up is starting to build and the world’s first anti-viral clinical trial is underway in the US.

And staying in the world of Alzheimer’s research, Marcus Richards and Jonathan Schott write about the world’s longest running cohort study into human health which began just after the second world war in 1946. As two of the project’s most senior researchers, they are ideally placed to write the inside story of that world-leading study and the light it is shedding on human health and the causes of Alzheimer’s.

You can hear the authors of all three articles, and some of the people taking part in their studies, tell their stories in our accompanying podcast series Uncharted Brain: Decoding Dementia.

All three episodes are now live on the site, and via The Anthill podcast that’s available via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever else you usually listen. The series will also be on The Conversation Weekly podcast feed over the next few days.

Paul Keaveny

Investigations Editor, Manchester, UK

Traumatic brain injury from sports such as American football is linked with a form of dementia called chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Steve Jacobson/Shutterstock

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Paul Keaveny, The Conversation; Gemma Ware, The Conversation

Listen to the second episode of our series Uncharted Brain: Decoding Dementia via The Anthill podcast.

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