Do Head Injuries Cause Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy?

Jan. 14, 2016; 1-2:30 p.m. (ET)

Overview

Contact sports have long been suspected of causing prolonged or permanent neurologic injury in some athletes; the 2005 findings of unusual brain pathology in a retired NFL football player magnified concern for this association. The brain pathology involved accumulation of the protein tau in masses called tangles or threads. To date, more than 150 cases of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) have been confirmed by autopsy, with the vast majority being athletes in contact sports. Records show these individuals suffered a range of cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and motor symptoms. In some cases, co-occurring neurological conditions were present that could also account for observed symptoms.

The distribution of accumulated tau masses, the criteria for diagnosis, and the clinical presentation of CTE remain controversial among researchers. At this time, there is no consensus regarding the clinical presentation of CTE that could enable diagnosis in living persons. There is no fluid or neuroimaging biomarker validated for diagnosis, although some imaging approaches show promise in their ability to differentiate different neurological conditions and normal aging. The literature on CTE is also limited by the strong influence of a few individual researchers, whose studies may be influenced by selection bias.

The webinar will address the current neuropathological diagnostic criterion for CTE and highlight recent findings that support or refute the association of CTE with multiple concussions.

At the conclusion of this webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the brain pathology observed in CTE
  • Recognize the cognitive, behavioral, and neurological signs attributed to CTE
  • Understand the limitations of the current literature on CTE
  • Articulate what is known or not known regarding the association of multiple concussions and CTE
  • Discuss the potential risks of contact sports, such as football, and later development of CTE

Presenters

Anne E. Bunner, Ph.D.
Program Analyst Research Division Contract support to Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) Silver Spring, Maryland
Donald W. Marion, M.D.
Senior Clinical Consultant Clinical Affairs Division Contract support to DVBIC Silver Spring, Maryland

Moderator

Katherine M. Helmick, M.S., CRNP, ANP-BC, CNRN
Deputy Director DVBIC Silver Spring, Maryland

Continuing Education

Continuing education credit is available from Professional Education Services Group (PESG). You must register by 3 p.m. (ET) Jan. 14, 2016, to qualify for the receipt of continuing education credit.

The awarding of continuing education credit is limited in scope to health care providers who actively provide psychological health and traumatic brain injury care to U.S. active-duty service members, reservists, National Guardsmen, military veterans and their families.

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