Study shows potential breakthrough in diagnosing CTE in living humans

By Michael Dixon

recent research study indicates that CTE may be something that can be diagnosed and even treated before those who suffer from it pass away.

The findings were published by a team of researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine, as well as the VA Boston Healthcare System.

“Not only did this research show the potential for CTE diagnosis during life, but it also offers a possible mechanism for distinguishing between CTE and other diseases,” Jonathan Cherry, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in neurology at BUSM said. “By making it possible to distinguish between normal individuals, individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, and CTE therapies can become more targeted and hopefully more effective.”

Hall of Fame running back Tony Dorsett has indicated he’s living with symptoms of CTE. But in the recent study, Ann McKee, MD, Director of BU’s CTE Center and Chief of Neuropathology at VABHS, noted that “Once we can successfully diagnose CTE in living individuals, we will be much closer to discovering treatments for those who suffer from it.”

This is a massive breakthrough for many people. Obviously, it’s a huge deal for those who suffer from CTE. But it’s also a big deal for the sports where athletes are particularly vulnerable. The fear will certainly never go away. But these kind of breakthroughs can go a long way in tempering so much of the justifiable anxiety that we’ve seen in recent years.