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Understanding CTE

Concussions and the growing understanding of their effects on people may be a hot topic of conversation between people in Bozeman and throughout the rest of the U.S. This may be due to the recent identification of chronic traumatic encephalopathy as a condition that may affect those who’ve suffered several incidents involving head trauma. Yet despite its name being thrown around in news reports, many may still not completely understand what CTE is and who may be likely to suffer from it.

The Brain Injury Research Institute defines CTE as a progressive brain disease that can result in either swelling, deterioration or atrophy or certain areas of the brain, as well as the buildup of a stabilizing substance known as tau proteins which can interfere with neuron function. Those who have CTE may experience symptoms such as:

  •          Memory loss
  •          Impulsive or erratic behavior
  •          Enhanced depression and/or aggression
  •          Vertigo
  •          Impaired judgment
  •          Early-onset dementia

Repeated blows to the head have been identified as one of the primary causes of CTE, which may be why it is so often associated with athletes who participate in contact sports like football, hockey, wrestling and boxing. However, cases of CTE are not exclusive to athletes. According to the Mayo Clinic, military personnel who have experienced blast injuries may also develop it, as can people who suffer from uncontrolled epilepsy or those who have been physically abused.

Everyday people who either participate in activities or work in situations where they may encounter blows to the head may also be at risk. Once one has suffered an initial concussion, the chances of experiencing another increase significantly. Thus, one whose work or lifestyle has contributed to multiple concussions or other mild brain injuries could potentially develop this condition over time. 

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