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Orthopedics and Traumatology

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)

CTE is a progressive neurodegenerative disease caused by repeated head injuries over the years that may include concussions.

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)

It's a progressive neurodegenerative disease caused by repeated head injuries over the years that may include concussions.

CTE has been found on people who played football and other contact sports, including boxing and also in military personnel who were exposed to explosives. Experts are still trying to study all the factors that can trigger the negative changes in the brain to develop Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.

Even if your head has been hit a few times, it doesn't mean you'll get CTE, but it is better that you should know the signs.


The most common cause of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy is repeated head trauma.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy can cause areas of the brain to wear out (atrophy).

People with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy may have signs of another neurodegenerative disease.


Following are some symptoms of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE): 

  • Short-term memory loss 

  • Thinking difficulties 

  • Confusion 

  • Emotional instability 

  • Bad judgment 

  • Aggression 

  • Depression 

  • Paranoia 

  • Dementia 

The symptoms of CTE do not develop immediately after a head injury; they can develop after years of repeated head trauma.

Depression and aggression are some of the personality changes associated with this condition can be very difficult to understand or manage so a commonly leads to other problems such as alcohol and/or drug abuse or suicide.

Risk factors

It is believed that the main risk factor for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy is repeated head injuries.

People who have repeated head trauma are at risk for CTE:

  • Boxers and wrestlers

  • Military personnel

  • Athletes who take part in contact sports, such as football, hockey, and soccer

People with Epilepsy or who have been victims of domestic abuse have also reported cases of CTE.

Diagnosis of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)

There is no way to diagnose for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy; tests can be performed in suspected cases of patients who are at high risk of suffering from this disease due to repeated head injuries.

Diagnosis requires the deterioration of brain tissue, deposits of tau, and other proteins in the brain that can be visualized with a scan after death (autopsy).

The Neurologist, Psychiatrist, or Neuropsychologist can perform physical exams, questions related to your symptoms, lifestyle, and medical history.

We group some of the possible tests that the Neurologist, Psychiatrist, or Neuropsychologist can perform to find some evidence of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy:

Treatment of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) 

There's no treatment for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy; specialists need to do more research on the procedures. However, one of the measures is to prevent head injury.

Learn about steps to detect and manage traumatic brain injury. 

Prevention of ETC 

If you or your kid play a contact sport:

  • Use the appropriate equipment 

  • Play on the proper field 

  • Learn the proper technique for your sport

When do you have to see a Doctor?

Make your appointment with the Neurologist, Psychiatrist, or Neuropsychologist in case of presenting any of the mentioned symptoms or in case of detecting another abnormal sign. 

When consulting your doctor, we recommend keeping a record of your pain with a detailed description of the symptoms, duration, and what you think triggered them. Also, mention any medications you are taking.

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