Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

Topics: Traumatic brain injury, Concussion, Brain Pages: 3 (968 words) Published: August 24, 2013
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy
Jenna Cottet
Athletic Health Care
Ms. Maull

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy
First described in the year 1928 (McKee 2010), Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that has been found to be the cause of retired NFL linebacker Junior Seau’s suicide. The disease deteriorated his brain and hindered his ability to think logically. Seau is not the only retired NFL player found to have had CTE through autopsy following their death. Mike Webster was the first football player found to have CTE, when scientists found the characteristic buildup of the tau protein in his brain. Another significant find in CTE affected brains such as his includes the shrinkage of the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory and thinking processes. The disease was originally noticed in boxers, first being called “punch drunk.” These boxers were described as exhibiting “cuckoo” and “goofy” characteristics. The observation in boxers led to a term meaning dementia of a fighter – “dementia pugilistica” which was later renamed its current name, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, in the 1960s (Saulle 2012).

It’s been confirmed that the cause of CTE is repetitive head trauma but it is unclear whether or not it can be brought on by a single mTBI (minor Traumatic Brain Injury) or if it can only be caused by recurrent blows to the head. The obvious group with the highest risk for CTE development is athletes, who are involved in contact sports such as football, boxing, and martial arts, but they aren’t alone. Other groups at risk for the disease include military veterans, epileptics, and victims of domestic abuse.

As of today, there is no definitive diagnosis, other than postmortem autopsy, for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. It is difficult due to the lack of consensus among doctors and scientists about the criteria of...

Cited: Mckee MD, A. C., Cantu MD, R. C., Nowinski AB, C. J., Hedley-Whyte MD, E. T., Gavett PhD, B. E., Budson MD, A. E., Santini MD, V. E. (2010, September) ”Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in Athletes: Progressive Tauopathy following Repetitive Head Injury” National Institutes of Health (2010) doi: 10.1097/NEN.0b013e3181a9d503
Saulle, M., & Greenwald,B. (2012,April)"Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy: A Review. “Rehabilitation Research and Practice (2012). doi: 10.1155/2012/816069
"Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy | Boston University." Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy RSS. 03 Mar. 2013.
Head Games. Dir. Steve James. Perf. Christopher Nowinski. Variance Films, 2012. DVD.
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