For concussion sufferers, a brain scan may warn it's time to call it quits

April 7, 2015 12:02 AM

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To date, no living person has gotten a definitive diagnosis of chronic traumatic encephalopathy - the constellation of cognitive and psychiatric symptoms that appears to result from repeated blows to the head. The definition of the disease itself remains a work in progress, and its key physical hallmark - abnormal protein tangles scattered throughout the brain - has been seen only postmortem, in the autopsied brains of oft-concussed former athletes who died in various states of dementia, or by suicide.

New research may allow CTE to be diagnosed in the living. The new findings still need to be borne out by larger studies. But they raise the prospect that a simple brain scan could provide athletes and others who risk further brain injury early warning that damage with long-term consequences has alre...

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