Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a brain condition that has been a concern for individuals with a history of repeated head injuries, such as athletes in contact sports. Until now, CTE could only be confirmed through an autopsy, but recent research offers hope for earlier diagnosis.
The Study’s Approach
Researchers used MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans to study the brains of individuals diagnosed with CTE after their death. They compared these scans to those of healthy individuals to look for patterns.
Findings from the Study
– The study found that individuals with CTE had noticeable shrinkage in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain.
– A gap in the brain, known as cavum septum pellucidum, was more common among those with CTE.
– There was a significant link between the amount of abnormal tau protein, which can harm brain cells, and the extent of brain shrinkage.
Significance of MRI in Research
MRI scans played a crucial role in this study. They helped identify specific brain changes that could be early indicators of CTE, making MRI a valuable tool for potentially diagnosing CTE in living individuals.
Implications for the Future
This research paves the way for using MRI scans as a biomarker to identify CTE before symptoms become severe. It’s a significant step towards early diagnosis and better treatment for those at risk of CTE.
For more detailed information, you can refer to the original research paper:
Cherry, J. D., Mez, J., Crary, J. F., Tripodis, Y., Alvarez, V. E., Mahar, I., … & Stein, T. D. (2021). Variation in TMEM106B in chronic traumatic encephalopathy. *Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy*, 13(1), 1-14. ⁵