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Identifying CTE before death?

June 28, 2012

Currently, the only way to officially diagnose CTE is after death.  Scientists at UCLA may have found a way to identify the presence of the Tau protein (which accumulates in the brain after head injuries and causes CTE) before an autopsy is needed….

Excerpts:

The question, after a decade of brain-slicing autopsies, is when any of this will help players before they’re dead. Doctors can’t just crack open living patients’ skulls and lop off slices of their brains to stick under a microscope.

But new research at UCLA is using a cutting-edge biomarker that can attach itself to tau protein tangles so that they show up on PET scans of living subjects. Dr. Gary Small is currently running a pilot study on retired NFL players, imaging their brains in place. If he is successful, his work would reorient the science of head injuries around saving lives instead of merely contextualising deaths.

Link to full article

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