We are still years away from a resolution or cure, but researchers believe they may one day be able to detect CTE in the brains of living players.
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a degenerative brain condition that affects many former NFL players. It is caused by repeated trauma to the brain, such as a football player colliding into other players. Awareness of this disease has picked up in recent years, and research is being done into understanding more about it.
The biggest hurdle to finding a cure is the fact that it can only be diagnosed post-mortem. However, according to Rick Maese of the Washington Post, that could change one day. Researchers believe they have discovered a biomarker that is a signal of CTE.
“It’s a unique disease, and it’s going to have unique proteins that are modified in this disease and this is the first indication that we’ve found one of the unique proteins,” Dr. Ann McKay told Maese.
“This was the first finding of a really unique component in this disease compared to others and compared to controls, so yeah, it’s a eureka moment, but we don’t think it’s the end.”
The next key in the research will be the detection of this biomarker in living subjects. This study was done on brains of individuals who had died already, and it’s possible that the biomarker will not be able to be detected in the brains of living subjects.
However, it’s a promising first step in the prevention of CTE.