Imagine hitting your head so hard you begin seeing stars, the room is spinning, and you feel like you are going to vomit, but then suddenly everything goes black. These are just a few of the symptoms individuals who suffer a concussion will often experience, including headaches, confusion, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, and even losing consciousness. What if there is a brain disease with far worse effects then concussions, that can even lead to death? Curious yet? Keep reading to find out about Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), its impact on the brain and how it directly relates to concussions.
What is CTE?
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a neurodegenerative disease resulting from multiple head injuries. Symptoms of CTE include behavioral and mood problems, tremors, loss of memory, depression, and suicidal rage. It also affects an individual’s cognitive abilities and judgment. Many of these symptoms are not as obvious as symptoms patients experience with a concussion, and these symptoms typically do not begin until years after the initial head injuries.
These symptoms tend to worsen over time and can lead to dementia. It is unclear if CTE alters the risk of suicide, given how the brain changes due to head injuries and CTE. The majority of known cases of CTE have occurred in athletes who participate in contact sports, such as football, hockey, soccer, boxing, and wrestling, with football players showing the most signs of the disease. Other risk factors for the condition include being in the military, domestic violence, and repeated hitting of the head. The exact amount of trauma that creates the condition is unknown for now, and diagnosis of CTE occurs by examining a patient’s brain tissue during an autopsy.