Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) – Symptoms and causes

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cte treatment

CTE is a shortcut for chronic traumatic encephalopathy. It is a term which is used to describe the brain degeneration that is caused by repeated head traumas. The CTE can be diagnosed only by an autopsy made by studying the sections of the brain. This is a very rare condition. It has been found in the brain of people who have played contact sports, such as football, as well as others.

Some of the most common symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy include difficulties with thinking (cognition), physical problems, emotions and other behaviors. This is a very controversial condition which is still not well – understood. Experts still do not know the frequency of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in the population and they do not understand the causes. You should know that there is no cure for CTE.

You should prevent repeated head injuries so in this way you will prevent the CTE. Those people who have some potential signs of CTE can benefit from some types of care providers for people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. It is overwhelming to know that you are a caregiver for CTE. This is a reason why you should talk with your doctor to know what to expect as the CTE progresses and to get a support from the network in place.

Like the Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, CTE is characterized by tangles of abnormal form of the protein tau in the brain. In the Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, these tangles typically appear around small blood vessels and beta – amyloid plaques and they are present only in certain circumstances. It is not clear how the brain changes associated with chronic traumatic encephalopathy are linked to behavioral or cognitive dysfunction.

cte diagnosis

Contents

CTE Symptoms

Here are some of the possible signs and symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy:

  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • Substance abuse
  • Emotional instability
  • Difficulty planning and carrying out tasks (executive function)
  • Short – term memory loss
  • Depression or apathy
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Difficulty thinking (cognitive impairment)

Here are other suspected symptoms:

  • Dementia
  • Trouble with sense of smell (olfactory abnormalities)
  • Vision and focusing problems
  • Trouble swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Motor impairment, such as difficulty walking, tremor, loss of muscle movements, weakness or rigidity
  • Speech and language difficulties
  • Aggression
  • Irritability

The full list of symptoms of people who have CTE at autopsy is still not known. It is not known what kind of symptoms, if any, it can cause. Nowadays, it is little known about how chronic traumatic encephalopathy progresses.

CTE Causes

  • Initial injury: The repetitive head trauma is likely the cause for chronic traumatic encephalopathy. In the most studies was found that the football players are having the most chances of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Those athletes who are participating in other sports, including lacrosse, volleyball, cheerleading, field hockey, basketball, wrestling, boxing, rugby, ice hockey and soccer can experience repeated head impacts and also they have high rates of concussion. Also, chronic traumatic encephalopathy was found in people who repeatedly bang their heads, people who have been physically abused and those people who have epilepsy which was not well – controlled. Also, blast injuries to military people can result in chronic traumatic encephalopathy. But not all athletes and all people who experience related concussions, including military people, can develop chronic traumatic encephalopathy. There are some studies in which are found that there is no increased incidence of CTE in people who are exposed to repeated head injuries.
  • Effect of injury: It is thought that CTE is causing areas of the brain to waste away (it is known as atrophy). Those injuries which are done to the section of nerve cells which conduct electrical impulses that affect communication between cells. Also, it is possible for people who have chronic traumatic encephalopathy to show signs of other neurodegenerative diseases, such as ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis which is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), Parkinson’s disease, frontotemporal lobar degeneration (also known as frontotemporal dementia) and Alzheimer’s disease.

CTE Risk factors

The repeated exposure to the traumatic brain injury is increasing the risk of CTE but experts still do not know the risk factors for this condition and they must learn them in the future.

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