This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, some corners of the Internet are melting down because of a reported shortage of Velveeta. And don't try to act like you don't know what that is. We'll talk about the history of the ooey, gooey stuff and why, in a buffalo mozzarella world, we still like it. But first, to football. This is golden time for pro-football lovers. Two teams will book their tickets to the Super Bowl this weekend after a long season of hard hits.
Doctors have long suspected that head trauma boosts the risk of getting Alzheimer's disease later on, but the evidence on that has been mixed.
But it looks like people who have memory problems and a history of concussion are more likely to have a buildup of plaques in the brain that are a risk factor for Alzheimer's, according to researchers at the Mayo Clinic.
Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher's body has been exhumed more than a year after he killed his girlfriend and himself so that his brain can be examined for signs of a degenerative condition linked to repeated concussions.
The NFL season is in high gear — a fact that pleases the roughly 64 percent of Americans who watch football. The season rolls on despite the now constant news about concussions in the sport.
The recent TV documentary League of Denial and the book by the same name claim that for years the NFL had denied and covered up evidence linking football and brain damage. Is the concussion conversation challenging this country's deep love for the game?
Dave Duerson (right), in 1988. Duerson committed suicide in 2011 and wrote a note that included this request: "Please see that my brain is given to the NFL's brain bank."
The casket bearing the body of former Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster is surrounded by flowers, after funeral services in Pittsburgh in September 2002. Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru, authors of <em>League of Denial</em>, point to Webster's autopsy as one of the most significant moments in the history of sports.
When the Pittsburgh Steelers won four Super Bowls in the 1970s, you could argue that no one played a bigger role than Mike Webster. Webster was the Steelers' center, snapping the ball to the quarterback, then waging war in the trenches, slamming his body and helmet into defensive players to halt their rush.
He was a local hero, which is why the city was stunned when his life fell apart. He lost all his money, and his marriage, and ended up spending nights in the bus terminal in Pittsburgh. Webster died of a heart attack, and on Sept. 28, 2002, came the autopsy.