News Analysis: Yes, Aaron Hernandez Suffered Brain Injury. But That May Not Explain His Violence.

Yet drawing a direct line from those basic findings to what people do out in the world is dicey, given the ineffable interplay between circumstance, relationships and personality.

What scientists — from such diverse fields as psychiatry, neurology and substance use — can say is that the arrows seem to be pointing in the same direction. A number of brain states raise the risk of acting out violently, and the evidence so far, while incomplete, suggests that C.T.E. may be one of them.

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Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez during his arraignment in Boston in 2014. While the damage to the brain of Mr. Hernandez was extensive, the science linking chronic traumatic encephalopathy and violent behavior is still murky.

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Pool photo by Dominick Reuter

Dr. Samuel Gandy, director of the N.F.L. neurology program at Mount Sinai Medical Center, said that rage and irritability “are far and away the most prominent symptoms” among former players with likely C.T.E., in his research. His group has identified 10 of 24 former players who probably have C.T.E.

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