Boston University scientists getting close to diagnosing CTE in living people


BOSTON (WPRI) — Scientists are on the verge of a major breakthrough when it comes to brain research.

According to the Boston University CTE Center, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a degenerative brain disease found in athletes, military veterans, and others with a history of repetitive brain trauma.

Currently, CTE can only be diagnosed after death but a team of scientists at Boston University’s School of Medicine are working to change that.

In 2017, researchers announced that former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez had a severe case of CTE.

Patients tend to have issues with memory or problem solving, as well as mood and behavior symptoms.

For the last few years, researchers at Boston University have been reviewing MRIs of people who had CTE. They found similarities, like shrinkage in parts of the brain related to cognition and memory, plus a commonly-found separation in the center of the brain.

Their research is ongoing and patients are already being studied.

“We’re carefully characterizing them, and we think it will provide information that we can use to more definitely diagnose CTE in the near future,” Dr. Jesse Mez, Associate Professor of Neurology, BU School of Medicine, said.

The scientists hope to use MRIs and other testing to diagnose CTE in a living person.

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