In 2013, a four-letter network touted a company known as Taumark. In 2015, a three-letter federal agency has essentially shut Taumark down.
According to Alan Zarembo of the Los Angeles Times, the Food and Drug Administration has forced UCLA researchers Gary Small and Jorge Barrio to stop claiming that their experimental brain scan can test for brain conditions like Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy. Through Taumark, Small and Barrio had suggested that injections with a radioactive compound followed by brain scans could provide early detection of CTE, dementia, and other brain conditions. The company reportedly found CTE in Hall of Fame running back Tony Dorsett.
But the FDA has found that this claim violates federal law regarding the promotion of unapproved drugs. As of Friday, Taumark’s website was taken offline.
When first launched, Taumark had the potential of detecting CTE, a condition that otherwise can only be determined by studying brain tissue directly, in the living. And it created obvious interest in the potential for football players to know whether and to what extent they may be susceptible to long-term cognitive problems.
This latest development shows how far science has to go, not only to understand what it means to have CTE but to find it in someone who is still at risk of further head injuries.