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Researchers trying to diagnose CTE in living patients

Louisiana football fans may be interested in a groundbreaking brain injury study scheduled to begin this summer. The study, which will be conducted by in part at the Boston University School of Medicine, will try to find a way to diagnose chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, in living patients.

CTE is a degenerative brain disease associated with repeated blows to the head, and it has been linked to many former football players. Currently, the disease can only be definitively diagnosed after a victim dies. However, researchers will study 240 men between the ages of 45 and 74 to see if they can identify early CTE signs in their brains. Half of the subjects will be former NFL players, and 60 will be former college football players. The remaining 60 subjects will have no significant history with contact sports.

Researchers will examine brain scans and biomarkers in the subjects for three years. They are particularly interested in identifying chemical changes in the brain that precede an "abnormal buildup" of a protein called tau, which has been consistently found in deceased CTE patients. They hope that the development of early CTE detection techniques will lead to treatments that can slow or stop the progression of the disease. Such therapies could help football players, military members and others who have suffered repeated blows to the head.

Brain injuries can be the result of things other than contact sports, of course. A car collision or a sudden fall can produce head trauma as well. When the injury is the result of the negligence of another party, an attorney can often help a victim seek compensation for medical expenses and other losses through a personal injury lawsuit.

Source: Huffington Post, "Scientists Are Getting Serious About Diagnosing CTE in the Living," Juliet Spies-Gans, June 2, 2016

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