What Is CTE?

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is the term doctors use to describe brain deterioration or damage after repeated head trauma. 

Unlike other kinds of brain injuries, CTE can only be diagnosed during an autopsy. However, symptoms and indications of CTE can show up long before a person passes — even years or decades before.

People who play contact sports, like boxing or football, risk developing CTE, as do military personnel or miners who are exposed to repeated blasts or shockwaves. Cognitive difficulties, behavioral changes, and physical problems are associated with CTE and traumatic brain injuries.

What Are Symptoms of CTE?

Because the diagnosis of CTE can’t be made without a full examination of the brain, exact symptoms are hard to pinpoint. However, some signs point to a serious personal injury that may involve CTE.

Here are some of the symptoms commonly linked to CTE:

  • Difficulty thinking
  • Memory loss
  • Problems with executive function
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Aggression
  • Depression or apathy
  • Emotional instability
  • Substance misuse
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • Motor symptoms
  • Parkinsonism
  • Motor neuron disease

CTE doesn’t develop immediately after a head injury; in fact, doctors believe that these symptoms worsen over time in response to the damage to the brain. Earlier in life, CTE may include more aggressive behavior and substance abuse. Later in life, symptoms include memory problems and early-onset dementia.

What Should I See a Doctor About CTE?

Any time you’ve experienced a head injury, whether through a car accident, a workplace accident, playing sports, or even from a hard fall to the ground, you should always seek medical attention. 

If you’ve been subjected to repeated head injuries, ongoing medical care can help ease the symptoms and give you ways to protect yourself and prevent further injuries.

People with CTE may be at increased risk of suicide. Thoughts of self-harm need to be addressed immediately. Memory problems, difficulty concentrating, or sudden changes in behavior also need medical attention.

What Causes CTE? Can It Be Prevented?

A concussion, which is a sudden jolt that moves the brain inside the head, is a cause of brain trauma. More than one concussive event or trauma to the head can lead to CTE. 

However, not all athletes who practice competitive sports develop CTE, even those who have had concussions. The same applies to anyone who has a high risk of concussion.

People with CTE have a buildup of the tau protein around the brain’s blood vessels. Tau buildup is also found in people with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, although CTE buildup varies slightly from dementia-related buildup. CTE causes parts of the brain to atrophy and thus reduces effective communication between brain cells.

Unfortunately, there is no treatment for CTE, although it can be prevented by reducing recurrent concussions. Avoiding activities with a higher risk of multiple concussions may be the best prevention for CTE.

If you’ve experienced repeated head trauma, you may have a case for damages. 

If repeated concussions have diminished your quality of life or require ongoing medical care, your employer, a sports organization, or other parties may be liable for negligence that led to your TBI.

Many people who have repeated concussions may not be able to concentrate on work or school or may have behavior problems that make employment or relationships difficult. Part of your case for damages can include diminished quality of life, as well. 

Your personal injury attorney can help you determine whether you have a case to obtain compensation for CTE or other brain injuries. Contact Marzzacco Niven & Associates at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today:

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