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Study Finds 2 Distinct Patterns in CTE Development

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Jarod Cassidy4 years ago

Fox News has reported on a recent study that found that athletes tend to fall into one of two distinct groups as they begin to develop Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a serious brain ailment.

What is CTE?

  • Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a degenerative brain condition found in people who have experienced multiple concussions or traumatic brain injuries. According to a recent study, 80 percent of people who suffered multiple traumatic brain injuries were diagnosed with CTE after death.
  • The disease is most frequently found in athletes who participate in contact sports like football, hockey and boxing. It has also become common among men and women who have served in the military.
  • Currently, CTE can only be positively diagnosed post mortem upon visual identification of damaged brain tissue, but studies, like the one conducted by Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, seek to find ways to diagnose the disease in living individuals.

Details on the CTE Study

“We need to be able to have a way, during life, that we can make a diagnosis of this condition.” – Dr. Ramon Diaz-Arrastia as published by Fox News

  • For the study published in Neurology, researchers interviewed the relatives of 36 former athletes who were diagnosed with CTE upon autopsy. The researchers also looked at the athletes’ medical records when available.
  • According to the study, all but three of the athletes studied displayed patterns that followed one of two trajectories:
  1. Early onset characterized by depression and behavioral changes
  2. Later onset characterized by memory loss
  • 22 fit into the first category, labeled “the behavioral/mood group.” In these athletes, first signs of CTE tended to show up when the individuals were in their mid-30s as depression or violent and explosive behavior.
  • 11 were placed into the “cognitive group.” For these individuals, symptoms first became apparent when the athletes were in their late 50s and included impaired thinking skill and memory loss.
  • Other experts who have read the study commented that the patterns are very similar to those found in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
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