Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)
- By sahlhealth
- May 18, 2021
- 42 views
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is the term used to describe brain degeneration likely caused by repeated head traumas. CTE is a diagnosis only made at autopsy by studying sections of the brain.
CTE is a very rare condition. It has been found in the brains of people who played contact sports, such as football, as well as others. Some symptoms of CTE are thought to include difficulties with thinking (cognition), physical problems, emotions and other behaviors.
CTE is a very controversial condition that is still not well-understood. Researchers do not yet know the frequency of CTE in the population and do not understand the causes. There is no cure for CTE.
Some of the possible signs and symptoms of CTE may include:
Difficulty thinking (cognitive impairment)
Depression or apathy
Short-term memory loss
Difficulty planning and carrying out tasks (executive function)
Suicidal thoughts or behavior
Other suspected symptoms may include:
Speech and language difficulties
Motor impairment, such as difficulty walking, tremor, loss of muscle movement, weakness or rigidity
Trouble swallowing (dysphagia)
Vision and focusing problems
Trouble with sense of smell (olfactory abnormalities)
CTE is a progressive, degenerative brain disease for which there is no treatment. More research on treatments is needed, but the current approach is to prevent head injury. It's also important to stay informed about the latest recommendations for detecting and managing traumatic brain injury.
If you had a concussion recently, you will not have developed CTE. However, you should take care of yourself until you have fully recovered in order to prevent additional injury. If your symptoms return at any point:
Cut back on activities
Get plenty of rest
Reduce physical activity if it increases your symptoms
Avoid too much computer time if this increases your symptoms
Get plenty of sleep
Return to activities gradually, with guidance from your doctor
Avoid drinking alcohol and take only prescribed medication
Write things down or limit tasks, as needed
Ease back into work
Consult others before making major decisions
It is especially important to avoid a second concussion before the first one heals (second impact syndrome). A second concussion can result in permanent brain damage or death.
If you are caring for someone who has symptoms of CTE, he or she may benefit from supportive care similar to that of people with dementia.
Calming environment. Reducing clutter and distracting noise can make it easier for someone with dementia to focus and function. It may also reduce confusion and frustration.
Reassuring responses. A caregiver's response can worsen behaviors such as agitation. Avoid correcting and quizzing a person with dementia. Offer reassurance and validate his or her concerns.
Modified tasks. Break tasks into easier steps and focus on success, not failure. Create structure and routine during the day to reduce confusion.
Regular exercise. A daily 30-minute walk can improve mood and maintain the health of joints and muscles, including the heart. Exercise can also promote restful sleep, prevent constipation, lessen symptoms of depression, help retain motor skills and create a calming effect. Try a stationary bike or chair exercises if walking is difficult.
Games and thinking activities. Encourage games, crossword puzzles and other activities that use thinking (cognitive) skills to help slow mental decline.
Nighttime rituals. Behavior is often worse at night. Establish calming bedtime rituals that are separate from the noise of television, meal cleanup and active family members. Leave night lights on to prevent disorientation.