Brain Imaging and Behavior

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 244–254

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy: neurodegeneration following repetitive concussive and subconcussive brain trauma

  • Christine M. Baugh
  • Julie M. Stamm
  • David O. Riley
  • Brandon E. Gavett
  • Martha E. Shenton
  • Alexander Lin
  • Christopher J. Nowinski
  • Robert C. Cantu
  • Ann C. McKee
  • Robert A. Stern
mTBI Special Issue

Abstract

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a neurodegenerative disease thought to be caused, at least in part, by repetitive brain trauma, including concussive and subconcussive injuries. It is thought to result in executive dysfunction, memory impairment, depression and suicidality, apathy, poor impulse control, and eventually dementia. Beyond repetitive brain trauma, the risk factors for CTE remain unknown. CTE is neuropathologically characterized by aggregation and accumulation of hyperphosphorylated tau and TDP-43. Recent postmortem findings indicate that CTE may affect a broader population than was initially conceptualized, particularly contact sport athletes and those with a history of military combat. Given the large population that could potentially be affected, CTE may represent an important issue in public health. Although there has been greater public awareness brought to the condition in recent years, there are still many research questions that remain. Thus far, CTE can only be diagnosed post-mortem. Current research efforts are focused on the creation of clinical diagnostic criteria, finding objective biomarkers for CTE, and understanding the additional risk factors and underlying mechanism that causes the disease. This review examines research to date and suggests future directions worthy of exploration.

Keywords

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy Traumatic brain injury Dementia Concussion Tauopathy Dementia pugilistica 

Abbreviations

Beta amyloid

AD

Alzheimer’s disease

ALS

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

APOE

Apolipoprotein E

APP

Amyloid precursor protein

BOLD

Blood oxygen level dependent

Cho

Choline

CSF

Cerebrospinal fluid

CTE

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy

CTEM

Chronic traumatic enceohalomyelopathy

DTI

Diffusion tensor imaging

ERP

Event-related potential

fMRI

Functional magnetic resonance imaging

FDDNP

2-(1-{6-[(2-[F-18]fluoroethyl)(methyl)amino]-2-naphthyl}ethylidene)malononitrile

FTD

Frontotemporal dementia

GT

Glial tangle

GRN

Granulin

MAPT

Microtubule-associated protein tau

MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging

MRS

Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy

NAA

N-acetyl asparate

NFT

Neurofibrilary tangle

NT

Neurophil thread

PCS

Post-concussion syndrome

PET

Positron emission tomography

SPECT

Single photon emission computed tomography

SWI

Susceptibility weighted imaging

TDP-43

TAR DNA-binding protein 43

TBI

Traumatic brain injury

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christine M. Baugh
    • 1
  • Julie M. Stamm
    • 1
  • David O. Riley
    • 1
  • Brandon E. Gavett
    • 2
  • Martha E. Shenton
    • 3
  • Alexander Lin
    • 4
  • Christopher J. Nowinski
    • 1
    • 5
  • Robert C. Cantu
    • 1
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
  • Ann C. McKee
    • 1
    • 8
    • 9
    • 10
  • Robert A. Stern
    • 1
    • 6
    • 8
    • 10
  1. 1.Center for the Study of Traumatic EncephalopathyBoston University School of MedicineBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Colorado at Colorado SpringsColorado SpringsUSA
  3. 3.Psychiatry Neuroimaging Laboratory, Department of PsychiatryBrigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  4. 4.Center for Clinical Spectroscopy, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  5. 5.Sports Legacy InstituteWalthamUSA
  6. 6.Department of NeurosurgeryBoston University School of MedicineBostonUSA
  7. 7.Neurosurgery Service, the Department of Surgery, and Sports MedicineEmerson HospitalConcordUSA
  8. 8.Department of NeurologyBoston University School of MedicineBostonUSA
  9. 9.Department of PathologyBoston University School of MedicineBostonUSA
  10. 10.Alzheimer’s Disease CenterBoston University School of MedicineBostonUSA

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