CTE is Preventable – A Watershed Moment

We had the opportunity to discuss this subject with Dr. Stephanie Seneff, Senior Research Scientist, MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence laboratory, studying post-concussion syndrome who has uncovered some amazing insight into the cerebral brain fluids role in preventing CTE.[10] She stated that, “I believe that chronic glyphosate exposure is causing a reduction in the amount of heparan sulfate in the brain ventricles, which is causing the water there to be less gelled. This means that the neurons are less able to handle impact injury because they are bathed in water instead of gel.”

The ability for brain cells to produce enough energy (ATP) for brain healing is also critical. The neurometabolic cascade that occurs after a concussion dramatically reduces the uptake of glucose, decreasing ATP production and leading to neuronal death.

The brain is the most energetically demanding structure in the human body. Compared to muscle cells that contain ~500 energy producing batteries (mitochondria) per cell, brain cells have ~2000 mitochondria per cell. Even modest declines in production can severely impair brain healing or regeneration.

Another factor for brain healing is the mitochondrial haplotype, the unique DNA contained within the mitochondrial genome that evolved to optimize energy production in different climatic regions. This DNA is always passed down from the mothers’ side.

Let’s use two different haplotype linages to explain the concept of mitochondrial haplotypes.

African mitochondrial haplotypes are L0, L1, L2 and L3. These mitochondria are “tightly coupled” and produce maximum ATP in high heat, strong solar light, and favor diets high in fibrous carbohydrates.

The absorption of red and infrared light is critical to a structure in the mitochondria (cytochrome c oxidase) in order to use oxygen and produce ATP. Due to the high exposure to light, these mitochondrial haplotypes do not rely on circadian biology in the same way as other haplotypes.

European mitochondrial haplotypes are H l, J, K, M, T, V, W, and X. These mitochondria are “loosely coupled” and require colder temperatures enhancing efficiency of the Electron Chain Transport optimizing ATP production. A diet rich in meat and lower in carbs is favored.

Light colored eyes are designed to absorb light better then dark colored in low light conditions and are more reliant on circadian light cycles to dictate hormone timing. Light exposure that does not follow that cycle destroys melatonin, a key brain repair hormone. Furthermore, overexposure of blue light found in everything from LEDs, computers to cell phones increases oxidative stress in the brain.

Dr. Stephanie Seneff also explained the environmental factors contributing to post-concussion syndrome further.

“I believe that glyphosate is the main reason for the current epidemic in post-concussion syndrome, and I believe that the best way to prevent it is to minimize glyphosate exposure.

I have been working out the multiple ways by which glyphosate is a train wreck for sulfate. Heparan sulfate efficiency in the brain ventricles is a core feature of autism. Sulfatide deficiency in the brain is a key early marker for Alzheimer’s disease. Heparan sulfate is essential both for neurodevelopment and for clearing the garbage (such as amyloid beta plaque) during sleep.

Melatonin molecules are packaged up with sulfate in the pineal gland and shipped into the cerebrospinal fluid in the brain ventricles in the evening to promote healthy sleep and garbage clearance.

When the brain is injured due to impact trauma, immune cells maturing from precursor stem cells infiltrate the region, carrying glyphosate on their backs. (Glyphosate was found by Monsanto researchers to accumulate
to the highest levels in the bone). Glyphosate then totally disrupts the healing process.

I am writing a book on glyphosate right now, and hopefully much of this will become clear from my book.”

Kim Adolphe had the privilege of speaking with John Forzani’s brothers Joe and Tom Forzani and his teammate, long-time business partner and close friend Basil Bark to help us shed light on why John did not develop CTE.

Kim Adolphe: Where did your family originate from and eventually live?

Tom Forzani: Our parents were originally immigrants from northern Italy, but my mother grew up in Canada. We were born and raised in Calgary.

Kim: What age did John start playing football?

Tom: John began playing High School football in grade 10 at age 16.

Kim: Was he active in other sports or hobbies?

Tom: Yes John also played basketball and hockey, but his passion was football.

Kim: What were some of John’s habits or hobbies once he started playing pro football for the Stampeders?

Joe Forzani: John was an avid reader and life-long learner. He was very bright and always challenging himself.

Basil Bark: We played a lot of racquet sports down at the YMCA. He also loved to cook which, like most things, he excelled at.

Tom: He was also an avid outdoorsman. We did a lot of hunting together.

Kim: Did he sustain concussions?

Basil: Yes, we played alongside each other, in fact my number was 45 and his was 54. I kept that number throughout my career which, coincidentally, was also the year I was born. There were times when I was literally holding him up. It was a very different game back then, no one knew what concussions or CTE were.

Joe: It was my second last game and I watched Tom Pate die on the field after a head collision. I decided to pack it in, he played the same position I did.

Kim: So what do you think about the changes to make the game safer?

Basil: Our helmets were thin hard plastic shells. There was no foam and many players had a scar on their nose when it slid down and hit them. Yes, they have made many improvements over the years.

Kim: What was John’s diet like when he played football?

Joe: John absolutely loved seafood. Cooking was a hobby when he played football and as time went on, he became quite an impressive Chef. He would study all the latest health benefits and used nothing but the best natural ingredients, organic vegetables, seaweed, dandelions, I didn’t know what half the stuff was. But it was so good and so pure. He was always experimenting with new vegetables and he ate seafood at least once a day.

Tom: He also ate a lot of wild game; he was extremely careful about his diet especially when he learned he had a heart murmur. He was about 40.

Kim: What did John do after football games?

Joe: Well he wasn’t really a drinker, if we won a game, we’d have a beer, but John took good care of himself. Off season he always lifted weights.

Kim: How did John sleep?

Basil: Even though he was a perfectionist and workaholic he slept well.

Kim: Did he have any bad habits?

Basil: Not many, although he did like to have a glass or two of red wine with a meal. Afterall he was Italian.

Kim: So John was aware he had a heart condition?

Tom: Yes, he was very concerned about it. Our father died at 68 years old of a heart condition, so we knew it was in the genes. He took every possible precaution and his diet was always paramount to him.

Kim: Wasn’t John also 68 when he died?

Tom: Yes unbelievably they were the exact same age.

Kim: Did John have any CTE related symptoms?

Basil: No he had not missed a beat, he was funny, lucid, as bright as ever until the day he died.

Kim: So it probably didn’t come as a surprise that he didn’t have CTE?

Basil: No not at all, he did not have any symptoms so it would not really have made any sense if he had been diagnosed with it.

The way John lived his life continues to teach and inspire us in ways even he may not have thought possible. We believe that a combination of factors (several that John controlled) created the optimal conditions for restoring his brain function after sustaining concussions and sub concussive impacts. The following factors very likely protected him from developing CTE:

  • Growing up in Calgary is within 6 degrees of Italy’s latitude therefore, the light composition and intensity would be similar. Furthermore, some clusters of European haplotypes show a much lower risk of neurodegenerative brain disease.[11]
  • A very active lifestyle that included the outdoors providing lots of exposure to natural light.
  • Playing football in the 70’s meant that he was not exposed to the damaging effects of blue light.
  • John was not exposed to lyphosate-based herbicides, his diet was rich in Sulphur bearing foods (seafood and vegetables), and wild game all superfoods for the brain which would increase the density of his cerebral spinal fluid.
  • Always exercising his brain through his work and his hobbies.
  • No bad habits, red wine is not a bad habit!

Sadly, John died of a heart attack at the age of 68. Physical, repeated impacts to the body have been known to lead to vascular inflammation. However, cardiac disorders can be inherited including arrhythmias (heart murmurs), congenital heart disease, and cardiomyopathy. The fact that John and his father both died of a heart attack, coincidentally at the same age, would strongly suggest that it was genetic.

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Based on all this information, we believe there are three possible factors that separate those who heal from those that do not heal and develop CTE:

  1. The ability for the mitochondria to produce enough energy to heal the trauma
  2. Adequate blood flow to the damaged area (cerebral circulation)
  3. Available nutritional resources

The development of CTE cannot be blamed solely on playing a contact sport. There are many hidden risks that play a role in neurodegenerative diseases including CTE. Every athlete is unique – diet, light exposure, lifestyle, environmental conditions early on and later in life, all play a critical role in how they respond to traumatic brain injuries.

It is our contention, based on the overwhelming evidence in multiple disciplines of science, that, like many other neurodegenerative diseases, CTE is largely preventable and within the athlete’s control. We can empower athletes of all ages to optimize their own brain health to prevent concussions from occurring, reduce the severity and ensure the brain is fully healed with proven technologies to ensure they never develop CTE.

Go back to Part 2: Tau, the Good, the Bad, and the Misunderstood.

Go to the beginning Part 1: Introduction.


[10] Stephanie Seneff, Senior Research Scientist. MIT Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Lab.
[11] Ridge, P. G., Maxwell, T. J., Corcoran, C. D., Norton, M. C., Tschanz, J. T., O’Brien, E., … Kauwe, J. S. K. (2012). Mitochondrial Genomic Analysis of Late Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Reveals Protective Haplogroups H6A1A/H6A1B: The Cache County Study on Memory in Aging. PLoS ONE, 7(9). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0045134. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0045134