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Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy: Neurodegeneration following Repetitive Concussive and Subconcussive Brain Trauma

1Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.
2Psychiatry Neuroimaging Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
3Center for Clinical Spectroscopy, Department of Radiology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
4Department of Psychology, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs, CO, USA.
Publication Date:
Brain Imaging Behav
Volume Number:
Issue Number:
Brain Imaging Behav. 2012 Jun;6(2):244-54.
PubMed ID:
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Traumatic brain injury, Dementia, Concussion, Tauopathy, Dementia pugilistica
Appears in Collections:
K02 MH001110/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
P30 AG013846/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States
R01 NS078337/NS/NINDS NIH HHS/United States
Generated Citation:
Baugh C.M., Stamm J.M., Riley D.O., Gavett B.E., Shenton M.E., Lin A., Nowinski C.J., Cantu R.C., McKee A.C., Stern R.A. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy: Neurodegeneration following Repetitive Concussive and Subconcussive Brain Trauma. Brain Imaging Behav. 2012 Jun;6(2):244-54. PMID: 22552850.
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Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a neurodegenerative disease thought to be caused, at least in part, by repetitive brain trauma, including concussive and subconcussive injuries. It is thought to result in executive dysfunction, memory impairment, depression and suicidality, apathy, poor impulse control, and eventually dementia. Beyond repetitive brain trauma, the risk factors for CTE remain unknown. CTE is neuropathologically characterized by aggregation and accumulation of hyperphosphorylated tau and TDP-43. Recent postmortem findings indicate that CTE may affect a broader population than was initially conceptualized, particularly contact sport athletes and those with a history of military combat. Given the large population that could potentially be affected, CTE may represent an important issue in public health. Although there has been greater public awareness brought to the condition in recent years, there are still many research questions that remain. Thus far, CTE can only be diagnosed post-mortem. Current research efforts are focused on the creation of clinical diagnostic criteria, finding objective biomarkers for CTE, and understanding the additional risk factors and underlying mechanism that causes the disease. This review examines research to date and suggests future directions worthy of exploration.

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