New CTE research could lead to tests for brain disease - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

New CTE research could lead to tests for brain disease

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CTE can be found in individuals who have been exposed to repeated head trauma. (File) CTE can be found in individuals who have been exposed to repeated head trauma. (File)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

Researchers at Boston University made a discovery that could help diagnose people with CTE. 

The breakthrough was announced on Tuesday. Doctors said they found high levels of a certain protein in former football players at a high risk for CTE. The discovery is in its early stages, but could someday lead to a test for the degenerative brain disease. Right now, CTE can only be found after a patient has already died. 

"We don't have any brain imaging test or blood tests that we can do, so really it can only be diagnosed at autopsy," Dr. Charles Bernick, a CTE specialist at Las Vegas's Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health said. 

CTE is a brain disease caused by repeated head trauma. It is linked to contact sports like football and boxing, but can be found in anybody who suffers concussions or head trauma. The brain disease changes a person's behavior, memory and mental functions.

Researchers at the Lou Ruvo Center have made similar breakthroughs in Las Vegas. 

"Here in Las Vegas, we're right in there, trying to find a diagnostic test for CTE," Bernick said. "We have identified chemicals in the blood that could be measured that seem to be related to the amount of head trauma somebody has been exposed to." Bernick said their discover is another path to reach a CTE test for living patients.

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