What Causes CTE?
As mentioned before, CTE is caused by multiple head injuries, which are often substantial blows to the head, with some hits leading to concussions. However, concussions are not what triggers this disease. The disease is distinguished by abnormal deposits of calcium and proteins throughout the brain. Researchers have observed abnormal buildup of the protein tau, which kills brain cells and is a signifier of CTE.
Other evidence of what causes CTE have led researchers to hypothesize that in the condition’s early stages, leaky blood vessels are evident in the brain – as within the deep recesses of the organ’s folds – these damaged and leaking blood vessels were spilling proteins into the tissues of the brain, which triggered inflammation and other symptoms. Researchers also focused on the capillaries (the smallest and most significant blood vessels in the brain) through which oxygen, nutrients, and waste removal occur, are severely impacted by brain injuries, as injuries create focal disruption to the capillaries, leading to protein leaking into the brain tissue.