What is CTE in Medical Terms?
What is CTE in Medical Terms:? Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a degenerative brain disease resulting from repeated head injuries that have been experienced almost continuously over the years.
Approximately hundreds to thousands of times a head injury to a person will risk causing the person to develop CTE. This is why CTE is more commonly found in people who work as professional athletes, army veterans, or other jobs where they are prone to repeated head injuries.
In CTE, a brain protein called the Tau protein forms a mass that gradually deploys all over the brain and damages brain cells.
At the age of 20-30 years, the symptoms that appear in a person who has CTE are changes in behavior and mood, such as aggressiveness, difficulty controlling oneself, depression, and paranoid.
As the patient ages, at the age of 40-50 years the patient begins to experience cognitive disorders such as senile dementia, confusion, and finally dementia.
CTE can be definitively diagnosed only with an autopsy postmortem, but a variety of symptoms have been linked to the condition. The onset of symptoms seems to occur most often in middle age, especially in athletes, often years or even decades after recovery from the initial head trauma.
The early stages of the condition are characterized by symptoms such as headaches, depression, increased irritability, decreased ability to concentrate, short-term memory loss, and suici**dal behavior. As CTE develops, executive brain function, especially those that regulate judgment and inhibition, deteriorates.
Over time, memory and cognition deteriorate, and individuals can become aggressive and develop symptoms of Parkinsonism, which may include tremors, muscle stiffness, and problems with balance.
Symptoms of dementia-like conditions are common in advanced stages of CTE and, in some advanced cases, can be mistaken for Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Some affected people develop progressive motor neurone disease that is similar in nature to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, with muscle weakness and spasticity.
Respiratory failure, sui**cide, drug overdoses, and dementia-related declines are responsible for most of the deaths associated with CTE.
Repeated head trauma is likely the cause of CTE. Football and ice hockey players, as well as military personnel serving in war zones, have been the focus of most CTE studies, although sports and other factors such as physical abuse can also cause repeated head injuries.
However, not all athletes and not everyone who experiences repeated concussions, including military personnel, continues to develop CTE. Some studies show no increase in the incidence of CTE in people with recurrent head injuries.
CTE is thought to cause areas of the brain to be eroded (atrophy). An injury to the part of the nerve cell that conducts electrical impulses affects communication between cells.
It is possible that people with CTE may show signs of other neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, amyotropic lateral sclerosis (ALS) – also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease – Parkinson’s disease or frontotemporal lobar degeneration (frontotemporal dementia).
CTE Risk Factors
Although CTE is very different from Alzheimer’s disease in many ways, they may share genetic risk factors. ApoE4 is the most widely known genetic risk factor by Alzheimer’s.
People with apoE4 mutations have also shown longer recovery times from head injuries, and more severe deficits after a single head injury. However, other studies have suggested that there is no link between CTE and ApoE4. More research into this connection is needed.
Women seem to experience a longer recovery from tremors than men, but it is not known if this leads to different risks for developing CTE.
Most of the brains studied with CTE were men because most were contact athletes or military personnel. Brain changes associated with CTE have been found even in very young people with various head traumas, but changes get worse with age.
To date, there is no definitive way that can be used to diagnose CTE in living patients. However, the doctor can perform tests on brain functions and perform head imaging if it is suspected that the patient has CTE. MRI, PET-scan, and EEG examinations are some of the support that can be used to diagnose head injuries.
Being part of a sport with a lot of physical contact, such as wrestling, football, or boxing is indeed a big risk factor for suffering from CTE. However, that doesn’t mean CTE can’t happen to you. If you need to do activities that are prone to impact on the head, use a head protector as standard, including when riding a bicycle or motorcycle.
After impact, recognize signs such as: loss of consciousness, severe headache, recurrent vomiting, or seizures. Immediately check with the doctor to get the right treatment.