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Autopsy Boston Bombing Suspect's Brain, Scientists Say

boxing gloves
Scientists want to autopsy the brain of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who boxed throughout his life. (Image credit: <a href="">Csehak Szabolcs"</a> | <a href=""></a>)

Scientists are calling for an autopsy of one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects to see if he had brain damage. Though brain damage probably didn't play a role in the bombings, it may have contributed to other personality changes, researchers say.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, may have suffered from a type of brain damage caused by repeated impacts called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, researchers say. Scientists believe CTE can cause emotional instability and impulse control.

Tsarneev was a boxer for most of his life, and family members and peers described dramatic personality changes in recent years. Still, the cold-blooded, planned nature of the attacks makes it highly unlikely that brain injury played a role in the bombs, Boston University neurology professor Robert Stern told

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Tia Ghose
Tia has interned at Science News,, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and has written for the Center for Investigative Reporting, Scientific American, and ScienceNow. She has a master's degree in bioengineering from the University of Washington and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California Santa Cruz.