Head Trauma & Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)

What is CTE?

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes, military veterans, and others with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including symptomatic concussions as well as subconcussive hits to the head that do not cause symptoms. CTE has been known to affect boxers since the 1920’s. However, in recent years CTE has been found in other athletes, including football and hockey players, as well as military veterans. CTE has been found in athletes as young as 17 years old and in both professional athletes and those with a history of participation in contact sports at only the high school level. The repeated brain trauma triggers progressive degeneration of the brain tissue, including the build-up of an abnormal protein called tau. The brain degeneration is associated with memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, suicidality, parkinsonism, and eventually progressive dementia. These symptoms often begin years, or even decades after the last brain trauma or end of active athletic involvement.


Science Says: How repeated head blows affect the brain ++Animation with soundbites++

Brain concussion - Shake it and you break it | Steven Laureys | TEDxLiège

How Many Concussions Have You Had?

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What can I do to help/how can I become involved in research?

"The CSTE is currently conducting clinical research aimed at discovering how CTE develops and progresses, risk factors for the development of the disease, and how to diagnose the disease in the future. For more information the CSTE’s current clinical research, please visit the website at: http://www.bu.edu/cste/our-research/clinical-studies/. The CSTE also has a brain bank that studies postmortem brain and spinal cord tissue to better understand the effects of repeated brain trauma. Current and former athletes and military personnel of all ages and levels can pledge to donate their brain and spinal cord to the BU CSTE after death. Being a brain donor is similar to being an organ donor, and the procedure is done in such a way that the donor may have an open casket if desired. BU CSTE personnel understand that this is a difficult time for the family of the donor, and they work hard to make the donation process as easy as possible for the family. For more information, visit the BU CSTE Brain Donation Registry page at: http://www.bu.edu/cste/our-research/brain-donation-registry/.


Recovering from Concussions: Smile for me Now | Bryant D’Hondt | TEDxWWU

Aaron Hernandez’s Brain Showed Signs of Brain Injury Never Seen Before in Someone Under 40