What is Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy?
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is the term used to describe brain degeneration likely caused by repeated head traumas. CTE is a diagnosis only made at autopsy by studying sections of the brain. Repetitive head trauma is likely the cause of CTE.
Football players have been the focus of most CTE studies. However, athletes participating in other sports, including soccer, ice hockey, rugby, boxing, wrestling, basketball, field hockey, cheerleading, volleyball and lacrosse, may experience repeated head impacts and also have high rates of concussion.
CTE has also been found in people who repeatedly bang their heads, people who have been physically abused, and those with epilepsy that has not been well-controlled. Blast injuries to military personnel also can result in CTE.
Some symptoms of CTE are thought to include difficulties with thinking (cognition), physical problems, emotions and other behaviors.
CTE is a very controversial condition that is still not well-understood. Researchers do not yet know the frequency of CTE in the population and do not understand the causes. There is no cure for CTE.
CTE is thought to cause areas of the brain to waste away (atrophy). Injuries to the section of nerve cells that conduct electrical impulses affect communication between cells.
It's possible that people with CTE may show signs of another neurodegenerative disease, including Alzheimer's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) — also known as Lou Gehrig's disease — Parkinson's disease or frontotemporal lobar degeneration — also known as frontotemporal dementia.
CTE is a progressive, degenerative brain disease for which there is no treatment. More research on treatments is needed, but the current approach is to prevent head injury. It's also important to stay informed about the latest recommendations for detecting and managing traumatic brain injury.
If you had a concussion recently, you will not have developed CTE. However, you should take care of yourself until you have fully recovered in order to prevent additional injury.
Source | Permalink: Mayo Clinic Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy
Please note: The information on this website is not meant to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should consult your health care provider regarding specific medical concerns or treatment.