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Fozzy Whittaker #43 of the Carolina Panthers runs the ball past Phillip Adams #20 and Charles Godfrey #30 of the Atlanta Falcons in 2015. Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Former NFL player Phillip Adams had an "unusually severe" form of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) when police say he shot and killed six people before fatally shooting himself in April, a group of investigators said Tuesday.

Why it matters: Scientists believe the degenerative brain disease, which can only be diagnosed after death, is linked to concussions and other head trauma and can cause several symptoms, including aggression, depression and memory loss.

Details: Adams had Stage 2 CTE and had significant atrophy in his frontal lobes, according to Dr. Ann McKee, who directs the CTE Center at Boston University.

  • McKee said that the frontal lobe density was similar to that of former football player Aaron Hernandez, who died by suicide after being convicted of a 2013 murder.
  • "The combination of poor impulse control, paranoia, core decision making, emotional volatility and violent tendencies caused by frontal lobe damage could converge to lower an individual's threshold for homicidal acts," McKee said.

The big picture: Researchers are hopeful they can identify a "biomarker" that could definitively say whether a living person has the disease, writes Axios' Kendall Baker.

  • More than 315 former NFL players, including 24 who died in their 20s and 30s, have been posthumously diagnosed with CTE, according to McKee, per the New York Times.

What they're saying: "We cannot say that we're surprised by these results. However, it is shocking to hear how severe his condition was," the Adams family, who agreed to send Phillip Adams' brain to be tested for CTE, said in a statement.

Go deeper: The future of CTE and football

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: dial 711 then 1-800-273-8255) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

Go deeper

New York City mayor allows noncitizen voting bill to become law

Photo: Gary Hershorn via Getty Images

More than 800,000 noncitizens can vote in local elections after New York City Mayor Eric Adams allowed legislation to take effect on Sunday.

Driving the news: Adams initially expressed concern over the legislation, which the City Council approved a month ago, but the Democratic mayor ultimately supported the measure and allowed his 30-day time limit to veto the bill to expire, according to AP.

Updated 4 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — White House: 60M households have ordered free COVID-19 rapid tests.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker