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What are the symptoms of CTE?

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September 22, 2011


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What are the symptoms of CTE?

symptoms-CTESymptoms of CTE may not be detected for many years after the injuries occur, which is why it has most often been found in athletes long after they’ve quit playing. The clinical symptoms associated with CTE vary from person to person, and in severity, depending on which clinical stage the individual is in.  According to a 2009 Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology article entitled “Chronic traumatic encephalopathy in athletes: progressive tauopathy after repetitive head injury”, initial symptoms include the following:

  • Deterioration in attention, concentration, memory
  • Disorientation
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Lack of insight
  • Poor judgment
  • Overt dementia
  • Slowed muscular movements
  • Staggered gait
  • Impeded speech
  • Tremors
  • Vertigo
  • Deafness

The individual may progress through three stages of the disease. Stage 1 begins with affective disturbances and psychotic symptoms. As the disease progresses to Stage 2, the individual may suffer from:

  • Social instability
  • Erratic behavior
  • Memory loss
  • Initial symptoms of Parkinson’s disease

Stage 3, the final stage, consists of a progressive deterioration to dementia and may have other symptoms including the signs associated with Parkinson’s disease, speech difficulties, gait abnormalities, speech disorder, difficulty swallowing, and drooping eyelid. (McKee, A.C.,, 2009).

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(3) Readers Comments

  1. Pingback: CTE Confirmed for Hockey Great Derek Boogaard | HelmetSmash

  2. Krysten
    May 7, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    How do you get tested for this?

    • admin
      May 9, 2012 at 12:29 am

      Krysten - start with your primary care physician. The symptoms of of CTE are broad reaching - so he/she should be able to refer you to the proper specialists. Note, though, that a confirmation of CTE can only (currently) be done through an autopsy of the brain.

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