Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) has been in the news quite a bit lately.
Studies of deceased former National Football League (NFL) players showed evidence of the disease in almost every one of the bodies donated for the study. When former NFL player Aaron Hernandez committed suicide, it was discovered that he’d been suffering from CTE for a while — a fact that may have even led to his imprisonment for murder.
The problem with CTE is that it can’t be formally diagnosed until after a victim is deceased — at least, until recently. Now, scientists have announced that there is a biomarker that may be able to diagnose CTE in the living.
While that’s fantastic news that provides a lot of hope for eventual new treatments, the reality is that a patient doesn’t have to have a diagnosis of CTE to have a diagnosis of a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
TBIs are identified in a number of different ways and are associated with myriad symptoms. Some of these symptoms overlap heavily with CTE because CTE is essentially a pervasive form of brain injury that comes from repeated head trauma over periods of time with inadequate chances to heal.
The symptoms of a TBI include:
- Difficulty thinking clearly
- Problems regulating emotions
- Difficulty behaving appropriately in emotional settings
- Cognitive disorders, like loss of short-term memory
- Depression that isn’t relieved with medication
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- The inability to clearly express what one is thinking
- Processing disorders that affect one’s perception of reality.
Currently, a lot of therapy and research is aiming to treat the emotional issues associated with TBIs and CTE. They’re the issues that often drive away caregivers and lead to problems with the law.
Unfortunately, a lot of the work being done with victims of TBIs or CTE isn’t covered by insurance, which means that victims need to look elsewhere for funds to cover the treatment. That makes it important for a victim to talk to an attorney who represents brain injury cases if there’s any possibility that someone else could be held accountable for the TBI.
Source: CNBC, “How science is moving toward diagnosing and treating the NFL’s biggest problem: Brain injuries,” Roni Jacobson, Nov. 04, 2017