Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a common co-morbidity, but less frequent primary dementia in former soccer and rugby players
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, is a type of neurodegenerative condition that is associated with prior exposure to traumatic brain injury (TBI). Despite being reported in a number of former contact sport athletes, how the disease presents clinically, and how it relates to other types of dementias remains relatively unknown.
In this study, 11 brains from former contact sport athletes with a history of dementia were assessed – 7 footballers, and 4 rugby players. This was undertaken in order to better understand neurodegenerative disease in this population.
STUDY: MAIN FINDINGS
- 75% of the individuals studied had signs of CTE.
- While the pathology of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is common in former athletes with dementia, oftentimes it is not the main, or only neurodegenerative pathology present.
- While CTE is important in these patients, the disease is more than just CTE and is more complex.
- This study provides important insights into dementia in soccer, and helps us work towards understanding neurodegenerative outcomes in former athletes.
- This study also highlights the importance of brain donations to the advancement of scientific research. We are extremely grateful for all the families who have supported our studies in this way.
You can read the whole paper here –
Lee, E. B., Kinch, K., Johnson, V. E., Trojanowski, J. Q., Smith, D. H. and Stewart, W. (2019) Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a common co-morbidity, but less frequent primary dementia in former soccer and rugby players. Acta Neuropathol, 138, 389-399 doi: 10.1007/s00401-019-02030-y