Scientists Discover ‘Holy Grail’ of Brain Disease Research

Scientists Discover ‘Holy Grail’ of Brain Disease Research

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It’s been called the “holy grail” of brain research and now, it may have been found. Scientists in the U.S. say they have developed a way to detect the concussion-related brain disease called CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, in living athletes.

Until now, the disease, which brings on dementia, depression and personality changes, could only be confirmed through an autopsy. Now, for the first time, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles have figured out how to use a brain-imaging tool to identify the abnormal build-up of tau proteins — the key marker of CTE — in people showing early signs of the disease. The preliminary findings are reported online in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

A total of 34 former NFL players have been diagnosed with CTE after their deaths . It’s also been found in a handful of former NHL players, including former Buffalo Sabre Rick Martin, who died last year at the age of 59. CTE was also discovered in the brain of former linebacker Junior Seau, who committed suicide last May at the age of 42 by shooting himself in the chest.

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