Researchers from Boston University may have discovered a way to diagnose living patients with CTE.

By Khadrice Rollins
September 26, 2017

Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine and VA Boston Health Care System have found a new biomarker that may allow chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) to be diagnosed in living patients, according to a study publish Tuesday in the journal PLOS ONE.

The study looked at the brains of 23 former college and professional football players, 50 non-athletes with Alzheimer's and 18 non-athletes with healthy brains. They found that the football players had higher levels of CCL11, "a protein previously associated with age-associated cognitive decline."

By finding that people with CTE have higher levels of CCL11 than those with Alzheimer's, the researchers say this may allow them to distinguish CTE from Alzheimer's and other diseases. If this is found to be a way to diagnose CTE, it could lead to finding ways to treat CTE in living patients.

Boston University has been at the forefront of CTE research, as the Boston University CTE Center has played a major role in identifying the prevalence of CTE in former players.

New Study Finds Playing Football Before Age 12 Increases Chances of Brain Problems

In July, the Center announced the results of a study in which it found CTE in 110 of the 111 brains of former NFL players that were examined. The sample was not representative, as the players were already suspected of having CTE. 

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