Doctors in California and around the world are only beginning to understand the causes of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Repeated blows to the head cause this disease that doctors can only diagnose after a person’s death. Therefore, it is a primary concern to athletes and military personnel. Some doctors have previously called this disease punch drunk syndrome.
Symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy
Unlike birth injuries that often cause Erb’s or cerebral palsy, chronic traumatic encephalopathy often causes changes in moods and emotions, with many individuals experiencing suicidal thoughts. People with chronic traumatic encephalopathy may also become addicted to drugs or alcohol and tend to be more aggressive. Those suffering from this disease may also have motor challenges or develop Parkinson’s disease. Doctors formerly called the disease dementia pugilistica because it often causes short-term memory loss and confusion. It can also cause slurred speech, and some people experience trouble eating or drinking.
Typical chronic traumatic encephalopathy scenario
People identified with chronic traumatic encephalopathy typically have a job or enjoy a hobby where they experience repeated blows to the head. For example, football players and boxers often have this disease. They may or may not have experienced a concussion while they were playing. Later, the individual experiences emotional or motor challenges. Some positions in the military, like firing ammunition repeatedly, and people with poorly controlled epilepsy are also at higher risk.
Comparison between chronic traumatic encephalopathy and Alzheimer
While it is only possible to diagnose chronic traumatic encephalopathy post-mortem accurately, when a person with this suspected disease has a brain scan, sometimes changes to the brain appear in the findings. These changes often look like Alzheimer’s. In both cases, the brain often seems shrunken, and neurofibrillary tangles are present.
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a disease that is very similar to Alzheimer’s, and doctors can only accurately diagnose post-mortem.