On Monday, the federal government awarded $6 million to researches to study chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a condition that has been made famous by the spate of stories about CTE and concussions in professional athletes.
According to the Boston Globe, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded $6 million to a “team of researchers, lead by Dr. Ann McKee, of Boston University School of Medicine and the US Department of Veterans Affairs, will receive $6 million to expand their research of CTE.”
The publication notes that “current tests cannot reliably identify concussions, and there is no way to predict who will recover quickly, who will suffer long-term symptoms, and which few individuals will develop a progressive brain degeneration, similar to Alzheimer’s disease, called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).”
In addition, the Globe explicitly notes that the “diagnosis of the disease can only be made by examining the brain after death,” and that “McKee’s team hopes to define a clear set of criteria that will help scientists distinguish the disease from other similar illnesses, including Alzheimer’s, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, during an autopsy.”
But the researchers at “Massachusetts General Hospital and Washington University in St. Louis aim to correlate them with brain scans to identify features that might some day be used to diagnose CTE in living patients.”