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CRM: Characteristics—After Effects
Concussion Recognition & Management
Module 2 Characteristics & Epidemiology

After Effects

Repeated "Bangs" are Bad

older woman holds forehead in distress

Normally, concussion symptoms resolve in a matter of weeks. For sufferers of Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS), the thinking, behavioral, and emotional symptoms associated with their concussion fail to resolve and sometimes linger for up to a year after the injury.

A growing body of evidence indicates a high number of concussions can cause long-term memory impairment, emotional instability, erratic behavior, depression, problems with impulse control, and early onset neurodegenerative diseases.

Much research is still required to prove connections between concussions suffered in youth with neurodegenerative diseases later in life. One of the most serious and significant neurodegenerative diseases suspected of resulting from repeated concussions is chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).


confused older man & tau

Chronic Traumatic
Encephalopathy
(CTE)

football players & old-style boxing gloves
Select each tab below for more information.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is thought to be a progressive, neurodegenerative disease, caused by repeated blunt force impacts to the head. There is not yet a proven link between concussion and CTE, but CTE has been firmly linked to activity that subjects the brain to repeated acceleration and deceleration.

baseball player tagging other player sliding into home base
period photo of pugilist & old-style boxing gloves

First reported in 1928, this phenomena was originally referred to as Dementia Pugilistica (or more commonly as "Punch Drunk Syndrome") because it was believed to affect only boxers. The terms "traumatic encephalopathy" and "CTE" were first used in the 1960s.

CTE has captured extensive popular attention in recent years as research increases to determine its relationship to and effect on athletes.

two football teams colliding
older man looking confused by pill boxes

CTE has been loosely linked to Alzheimer’s Disease. CTE and Alzheimer’s are similar in clinical pathology and dysfunction. To the observer, they may appear to be the same disease. Yet they do not involve the same protein. Alzheimer’s involves beta-amyloid proteins and a tangle of the abnormal protein tau, whereas CTE appears to only involve tau.

Tau is a toxic protein that takes the form of neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) and neuropil threads (NTs) in areas of the brain. This abnormal protein initially impairs the normal functioning of the brain and eventually kills brain cells.

inside a diseased neuron
older man looking distressed

CTE is only diagnosed on autopsy and is associated with a history of memory disturbances, behavioral and personality changes, mood disorders, and/or dementia. Since at this point, CTE can only be diagnosed by examining the brain after death, it is limited by the number of cases discovered thus far (since autopsies are not performed on all potential CTE victims). The research is in its infancy.



Module 2 Characteristics & Epidemiology

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