New study provides hope that CTE can be diagnosed in living patients

Getty Images

Researchers at Boston University studying Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy have identified a marker that they believe could help doctors diagnose CTE in living patients for the first time.

In a study published in the medical journal PLOS ONE that looked at the brains of 23 former football players posthumously diagnosed with CTE, 50 non-athletes with Alzheimer’s disease and 18 non-athlete control subjects, researchers found elevated levels of a protein called CCL11 in the brains of the former football players. The levels were higher in subjects who played football for a longer period of time and the levels were also higher in cerebrospinal fluid.

“Not only did this research show the potential for CTE diagnosis during life, but it also offers a possible mechanism for distinguishing between CTE and other diseases. By making it possible to distinguish between normal individuals, individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, and CTE therapies can become more targeted and hopefully more effective,” Dr. Jonathan Cherry said in a release.

Dr. Ann McKee, another author of the study, called these findings “early steps” in developing a way to test for CTE in living patients and there is more research that needs to be done before the relationship between CCL11 and CTE can be fully understood.

26 responses to “New study provides hope that CTE can be diagnosed in living patients

  1. Once they figure this out there will be no more football as we know it. It will be very similar to what happened to boxing in 1960 when Charlie Mohr died and the NCAA pulled all scholarships for boxing. That killed the talent pool and less people where exposed to the sport. The current dip in ratings is really the younger generation which are less exposed to the sport as opposed to other generations. Once participation drops so will viewership. Nothing lasts forever.

  2. Finally – something positive. All of this negativity towards football is killing the game. These guys know what they sign up for. I am a former college and high school player. 3 surgeries later, I don’t regret anything. And I am a high school teacher today making an average income – not millions of dollars. Enjoy the game, and let it be enjoyed as we pass it down. We need positivity like this.

  3. I’ve asked many times on this site and others, never seen an answer-

    What is the CTE baseline in the general population?

    We say nfl rates are high, which I’m sure they are, but how high? How can we know how extreme the problem is if no one can tell us what the percentage of Non-football players have CTE?

  4. CTE is going to be the long-term death of the NFL unless they can either 1) develop an effective treatment; and/or 2) reduce the likelihood of contracting CTE through football to near-zero. Parents are going to stop allowing their kids to play the sport, and those kids will be less invested in following football as a sport.

  5. well first, head trauma has to be proven to exist in all 50 states, mexico, and london.

    do concussions even exist in those countries? Texas, New Jersey, and Indy still dispute that CTE is even a real thing.

    Funny that head trauma exists OFF the field however, when it involves people in a relationship together.

  6. I’d also like to know CTE statistics for the non-athlete population, then the rates at each sport. It seems many like to correlate concussions with CTE. This may or may not be the case. And as the old rule states, correlation does not imply causation. We should be careful of demonizing the game of football for a disease nobody knew existed 5 years ago. We could ultimately learn that CTE is something a person is genetically predisposed to. Or that it’s caused by exercise, or drinking Gatorade. These points are equally valid today, as we have no proof otherwise.

  7. I read a report on another website that scientists right now are developing a pill to help prevent brain injuries/damage caused by CTE.

    Evidently, after a person is concussed, the body releases some sort of protein that harms the brain. The pill that is being developed is designed to break down these proteins before they harm the brain. The article stated that researchers think this pill could be approved and available within 10 years.

    I know it sounds far-fetched, but I really think this pill can be a game-changer.

  8. I’ve always laughed at the “football is dying” crowd, but I do think this could be good for players AND bad for the sport. Imagine you’re an NFL player with a few million in the bank and a doctor says to you, “Your numbers are getting worse, you’re definitely going to have severe CTE by the end of your career”. That would be enough for a lot of players to walk away. Now imagine a guy in high school gets tested and his numbers are high, you think his mom will let him keep playing? Good for science, good for health, probably not good for the NFL.

  9. Imagine that. The cows have come to roost. You can’t say the heck with CTE and enjoy a lifetime of football and then claim CTE and compensation later in life. How many able minded football players in their prime will want that test that essentially, terminates their career.

  10. ipeefreelyagain says:
    September 26, 2017 at 4:09 pm
    I’d also like to know CTE statistics for the non-athlete population, then the rates at each sport. It seems many like to correlate concussions with CTE. This may or may not be the case. And as the old rule states, correlation does not imply causation. We should be careful of demonizing the game of football for a disease nobody knew existed 5 years ago. We could ultimately learn that CTE is something a person is genetically predisposed to. Or that it’s caused by exercise, or drinking Gatorade. These points are equally valid today, as we have no proof otherwise.

    —————————

    There have been baseline studies as well. CTE isn’t as common in those that don’t play. The brain isn’t a super organ that can just take punishment and not be effected. Much like if you get your knee operated on 5 times you won’t run as well as you did had you never torn your knee, your brain won’t operate the same. All for studies being done but to still be skeptical that football can cause brain damage is just silly at this point. Far too much evidence. You want to know more, the research is out there and the machine you read this on can give it to you.

  11. sllabskcustfpk says:
    September 26, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    I read a report on another website that scientists right now are developing a pill to help prevent brain injuries/damage caused by CTE.

    Evidently, after a person is concussed, the body releases some sort of protein that harms the brain. The pill that is being developed is designed to break down these proteins before they harm the brain. The article stated that researchers think this pill could be approved and available within 10 years.

    I know it sounds far-fetched, but I really think this pill can be a game-changer.
    ————————

    Russell Wilson is way ahead of them with his “Recovery Water”, with “Nanobubbles”.

  12. Wait a minute! Are they trying to say that non football players also show signs of brain abnormalities? That’s not possible. The media tells us that play football = get concussion = go crazy and die early.

    Also, soccer concussions don’t cause any problems at all apparently because nobody cares that soccer has more concussions than football.

  13. CTE is part of aging. IF Goddell wants Unity, why not guarantee all contracts and pay all players equally. No player should make more income than another. Everyone gets same game check total. Equal shares.

  14. randomcommenter says:
    September 26, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    Wait a minute! Are they trying to say that non football players also show signs of brain abnormalities? That’s not possible. The media tells us that play football = get concussion = go crazy and die early.
    ————————

    Both are true, minus your added drama, so what’s your point? Are you trying to say that football players don’t get concussions?

  15. freedomofspeechyesway says:
    September 26, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    I’ve asked many times on this site and others, never seen an answer-

    What is the CTE baseline in the general population?
    ———————–

    If only there were an internet site where you could type in a query and get back thousands of results.

  16. Its starting to sound like a medical gimmick to get money out of folks and research money. They just haven’t studied it enough in the rest of the population in general. A whole lot of money for research for a very, very small potion of people. Probably taxpayer money.

  17. Both are true, minus your added drama, so what’s your point? Are you trying to say that football players don’t get concussions?

    _——————————————————————-

    Point is that CTE type brain issues appear normally in non football players. It’s not proven that concussions cause CTE. Also, concussions are prevalent in other sports but nobody seems to care.

    Somehow, it’s only a big deal if an ex football player has brain issues. Conveniently lines up with the deepest pockets to pick for research money.

  18. sllabskcustfpk says:
    September 26, 2017 at 4:10 pm
    I read a report on another website that scientists right now are developing a pill to help prevent brain injuries/damage caused by CTE.

    Evidently, after a person is concussed, the body releases some sort of protein that harms the brain. The pill that is being developed is designed to break down these proteins before they harm the brain. The article stated that researchers think this pill could be approved and available within 10 years.

    I know it sounds far-fetched, but I really think this pill can be a game-changer.

    ——

    Or they can use marijuana. The Israelis have studied the impact of compounds in marijuana on brain trauma. They found that CBD specifically helps reduce intercranial pressure which lessens brain swelling lessening the impact of head trauma quite a bit. The Israeli Defense Firce now administers CBD oil to victims of traumatic brain injuries immediately. They provide this to both their people and enemy combatants.

    Then again big pharma can patent a plant so this likely won’t be studied in the US.

  19. That’s why players get paid the big money, they know the risks, but they choose to take the risks in order to make the money, that 95% of them would never make without football.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!