Research and data

New Study Could Help Diagnose CTE before Death

Clinical knowledge about chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) has come a long way, but there is still much to learn about this neurodegenerative disorder caused by repeated head injuries over time. While doctors have identified suspected CTE cases in patients while they are alive, the disease can only be fully confirmed through an autopsy after death.

But now, a new study coauthored by School of Public Health researchers at Boston University’s CTE Center provides the most definitive data to date that links CTE pathology to symptoms patients experience during life.

Published in the journal Molecular Neurodegeneration, the first-of-its-kind study connects cognitive, behavioral, and functional symptoms to the disease, which is characterized by a buildup of a protein called p-tau in several areas of the brain. The study quantified the amount of p-tau that accumulated in the brain of deceased athletes and found that higher amounts of this protein were associated with more severe symptoms.

“The fact that we show a clear dose-response relationship between the amount of CTE pathology and the severity of cognitive and functional symptoms, brings us one step closer to being able to diagnose the disease in the living,” says study coauthor Yorghos Tripodis, professor of biostatistics.

Read more about this important research here

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