By On January 23rd, 2013

UCLA Researchers Identify Protein Linked To CTE In Living Patients

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy has been making headlines ever since it was discovered that most of the brains submitted to brain banks by deceased NFL players showed signs of the disorder. There has been a lot of concern over how many living athletes may be dealing with the symptoms from CTE.

CTE is a degenerative brain condition associated with memory loss, confusion, progressive dementia, depression, suicidal behavior, and personality changes. It is believed to be caused by repeated traumatic brain injuries.

Despite the interest in trying to protect athletes and the high profile of TBI and all of its associated issues, there has been no method for early detection or tracking of the brain pathology developed for these issues, but one group of UCLA researches believe they may have been able to identify heightened levels of a protein believed to be associated with CTE.

CTE is believed to be caused by a buildup of the tau protein, which UCLA researchers have identified in the brains of five retired NFL players, who are still living. They noticed it with the use of brain imaging tools, marking the first time the tau protein has been able to be found before death or autopsy.

Their initial findings have been published in the latest online issue of the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, with a press release posted through Eurekalert.

The hope for the results is to find strategies for intervention for those with early symptoms associated with CTE, rather than trying to repair the brain once the damage has become extensive.

The lead author of the study, Dr. Gary Small, UCLA’s Parlow-Solomon Professor on Aging said, “Early detection of tau proteins may help us to understand what is happening sooner in the brains of these injured athletes,” but of course that will take more extensive studies to discern.

One Response

  1. Joan Kline says:

    My name is Joan and I’m a 54 yr old woman. I had a severe concussion when i was 19 from a motorcycle accident. I have had problems with my back and neck since that time in 1977. Then in 1986 i recieved a whiplash when my car was struck from behind. I had physical therapy for a pinched nerve in my neck. Then in 1991 i recieved a upperbody whip lash and cracked Sternum, from a man pulling out in front of me. I had 2 years of P.T.
    I have had alot of physical problems because of the accidents and Chronic Pain. I have Extensive Degenerative Disc disease, Osteo Aritritis of spine and joints, Cervical Nerve Damage, Neuropthy, memory loss, Cerebrial Atrophy, Chronic pain, and Fibromyalgia. I have been tested for M.S. several times along with Lyme Disease and Lupus. I have been to Neurologist several times over the years, and will be returning again in March. I am having a really hard time dealing with this. I don’t know if this information will help or not, but i do know that any injury to the brain can cause alot of problems. Good Luck in your research!

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