A Step In The Right Direction: Trying To Diagnose CTE In Living Patients


BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Researchers are getting closer to finding a way to diagnose Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in patients who are still alive.

Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) has found new, more distinct, symptoms for CTE so they can try to one day diagnose CTE prior to one's death.

CTE is a progressive brain disease that is caused primarily from repeated head injuries—so those most at risk are involved in activities such as military service, close contact sports, and physical violence.

In a study from 2017, "In a convenience sample of 202 deceased players of American football from a brain donation program, CTE was neuropathologically diagnosed in 177 players across all levels of play (87%), including 110 of 111 former National Football League players (99%)."

BUSM reported that "progressive memory loss and issues with executive function, the ability to focus, follow directions, and problem-solve" are more useful symptoms in determining CTE than mood and behavior symptoms.

"It's based on a careful history that we take either from the patient or a family member, assessing whether there's issues with cognition via neuropsychological testing as well as just self-rapport of mood and behavioral symptoms" Jesse Mez, MD, MS, director of the Boston University (BU) Alzheimer’s Disease Center Clinical Core and a BU CTE Center Investigator explained to WBZ NewsRadio's Karyn Regal.

Mez said in a statement this study moved the field closer to "understanding of how to diagnose CTE in life, suggesting progressive memory and executive function symptoms are particularly valuable for predicting CTE pathology.”

WBZ NewsRadios (@KarynRegal) reports:

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