Chances are the term CTE may be new to you…so we put together a quick list of frequently asked questions to bring you up to speed.
1. What is CTE?
CTE is short for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. It is a degenerative brain condition caused by a buildup of the abnormal protein, tau. This protein strangles brain cells, affecting areas responsible for controlling memory, emotions, and other brain functions.
2. How can you get CTE?
Repeated blows to the head are what set the stage for the development of CTE. Tau starts to form as a result of the repetitive brain trauma.
3. Do concussions lead to CTE?
Anyone who experiences repeated trauma to the head, whether leading to a formal diagnosis of concussion or as a sub-concussive hit, is at greater risk for developing CTE.
4. Who can develop CTE?
Perhaps the most obvious are those who play contact sports such as football, boxing, or ice hockey where repetitive hits are part of the sport. Our military members are especially at risk when injured during explosions. Domestic abuse victims, head bangers, and Epileptics can develop the condition, as can young children, from birth to nine, who may be injured on the playground or while riding bikes.
5. Do many people experience brain injury?
Actually, more than you probably would guess…over 1.7 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury each year in the United States, which puts them at risk for developing CTE. The injuries frequently occur from automobile accidents, falls, and more.
6. What are the symptoms of CTE?
There are many similarities between the symptoms of CTE and traumatic brain injuries including depression, memory loss, and personality changes. CTE can present as dementia, and have a strong resemblance to Alzheimer’s disease. All of these symptoms can surface gradually or appear suddenly.
7. How is CTE diagnosed?
Here’s the good news/bad news part of the equation. The good news is that thanks to CTE recently gaining recognition as a medical ailment, greater strides in research for prevention and diagnosis of CTE will be on the horizon. The bad news is that currently the only way to be 100% sure that someone has CTE is during a post-mortem exam that enables exploration of the areas of the brain affected by the tau protein. Many athletes and their families have been helping researchers get answers by permitting these exams. As a result, researchers are seeing a correlation between individuals who experienced repetitive head trauma and the presence of tau and CTE.
8. Is there a cure?
Currently, there is not a cure for CTE. This is where knowledge and prevention come into play. Researchers are working to identify signs of CTE earlier, before it can have a greater impact on one’s mental health.
9. What can I do to prevent CTE?
The answer is in one important word, safety. By taking appropriate safety measures, you can reduce the chances of brain injury and developing CTE. Note, we say reduce versus prevent as repeated blows to the head have both short-term and long-term impact. Here are a few quick tips:
- Safety equipment such as helmets should be properly secured during contact sports and bike riding.
- Buckling up in the car can help prevent head injury in case of an accident.
- To reduce falls at home, add lights above stairwells and place non-slip mats in the tub/shower.
10. How do I learn more?
Any medical professionals or therapists with whom you are working directly are always the best place to start asking questions about your particular situation or concerns.In addition, be sure to check out our website’s resource page for links to reliable information sources. We are on Facebook and Twitter too, so be sure to follow us for the latest CTE related news.
11. FAQS About the CTE Society
The CTE Society strives to provide accurate, up to date information to patients and their support network so they can make better-informed decisions. We work to identify and share access to effective treatments for people with CTE. We help distribute information aboutoutcomes-based treatment and research to the medical community so they can make better clinical decisions in the treatment of CTE patients.
We strive to raise awareness and educate family, friends and the general public so they can understand what patients are going through and be better able to provide support. We collect and disseminate information.
12. When was the CTE Society Founded?
The CTE Society was founded in 2014 as an educational resource for the sufferers of CTE and their support network.
13. How is the CTE Society Funded?
The CTE Society is currently privately funded and has applied for non-profit 501-C3 status from the IRS.