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New Diagnostic Tool for CTE

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November 30, 2017
Edward Smith

New Diagnostic Tool for CTE

New Diagnostic Tool for CTE

A new discovery in the fight against chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) was announced by researchers in Illinois. This may help in the eventual treatment of the disease, which results from repeated head injury.

The Discovery

Medical researchers spotted areas in the brain imaging of 14 former NFL players. The areas were thought to correspond to forming a substance with the disease. The substance is a protein called tau that is believed to be responsible for the effects of CTE. Over time, clumps of tau protein cover neurons damaged by repetitive blows to the head. The protein kills the neural cells as it migrates throughout the brain. This leads to symptoms of CTE and, ultimately, death. In the study, the NFL players showed symptomatic evidence of CTE.

Death of an NFL Study Participant

The recent study, presented in the journal Neurology, said that when one participant died, the researchers autopsied his brain. The results showed that tau protein showed up as spots on the scan. This development allows researchers to identify CTE while a patient is alive. If treatment is developed in the future, the scan will be used to monitor it.

More Information on the Participant Who Died

The CTE victim who died had a brain scan done at age 59. Over the next two years, he became unable to do simple tasks. These included dressing himself. In time, he could not feed himself. The man was in a nursing facility when he died. By that time, he was unable to speak without distortion. He was incontinent and had difficulty drinking. The former NFL player played football for approximately 22 years, beginning when he was eleven. It was reported he had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis at the time of his death.

What Causes CTE

Repeated blows to the head cause CTE. This includes the type of injury that happens when playing sports. However, it also includes repeated concussions, whether symptomatic or not. This syndrome has been seen in fighters and those in the military. CTE has been found in those who only played football in high school.

Brain Degeneration

Repeated brain injury results in degeneration of the brain. The time lag between the injury and degeneration can range from months to decades. As degeneration continues, loss of memory, faulty judgment, depression, aggression, and confusion ensue. In time, suicidal behavior and dementia occur. It is not sure how many blows to the head are enough to trigger CTE.

Accidents With Traumatic Brain Injury

Some accidents result in traumatic brain injury. This is not the same as CTE. Repeated TBI, though, could develop into CTE years later. TBI can be difficult to treat and may involve extended periods of hospitalization and rehabilitation. Any injury to the head, including a mild concussion, should be carefully monitored to make sure symptoms do not develop. The brain can be bruised with specific acceleration/deceleration injuries, leading to symptoms. It is always essential to seek competent medical care. Post-concussion syndrome can develop in many cases.

Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Fair Oaks brain injury lawyer. Injuries to the brain can be traumatic and even catastrophic in some cases. The loss of motor skills or cognitive function can cost a person his or her living. On some occasions, it can deprive a family of their loved one. If this happens to you or yours, call me for help. I can be reached at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400. You can contact me online on my website, I will provide free and friendly advice.

Since 1982, I’ve helped many Northern Californians. I’ve assisted residents in Fair Oaks with wrongful deaths, pedestrian and car accidents, and truck accidents.

You can check out my practice on Avvo, Yelp, and Google.

To see what I have accomplished for others, go to my verdicts and settlements page.

I belong to the Brain Injury Association of America.

 Million Dollar Advocates is a group of trial lawyers with settlements/verdicts of $1 million or more. I am a forum member.

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