Chronic traumatic encephalopathy: contributions from the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy

Brain Inj. 2015;29(2):154-63. doi: 10.3109/02699052.2014.965215.


Objective: Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a neurodegenerative disease associated with repetitive brain trauma (RBT). Initially described in boxers, CTE has now been found in other contact sport athletes with a history of RBT. In recent years, there has been tremendous media attention regarding CTE, primarily because of the deaths of high profile American football players who were found to have CTE upon neuropathological examination. However, the study of CTE remains in its infancy. This review focuses on research from the Centre for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy (CSTE) at Boston University.

Methods: This study reviews the formation of the CSTE, major CSTE publications and current ongoing research projects at the CSTE.

Results: The neuropathology of CTE has been well-described. Current research focuses on: methods of diagnosing the disease during life (including the development of biomarkers), examination of CTE risk factors (including genetic susceptibility and head impact exposure variables); description of the clinical presentation of CTE; development of research diagnostic criteria for Traumatic Encephalopathy Syndrome; and assessment of mechanism and pathogenesis.

Conclusions: Current research at the BU CSTE is aimed at increasing understanding of the long-term consequences of repetitive head impacts and attempting to begin to answer several of the unanswered questions regarding CTE.

Keywords: Aggression; cognition; concussion; dementia; dementia pugilistica; depression; neurodegeneration; sub-concussive trauma; tauopathy; traumatic brain injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletes / statistics & numerical data
  • Athletic Injuries / complications
  • Athletic Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Blast Injuries / complications
  • Blast Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Boston
  • Brain Injuries / diagnosis
  • Brain Injuries / etiology
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Brain Injury, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Brain Injury, Chronic / etiology
  • Brain Injury, Chronic / physiopathology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Military Personnel / statistics & numerical data
  • Motor Neuron Disease / etiology
  • Motor Neuron Disease / physiopathology*
  • Neuroimaging / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Synaptic Transmission
  • Universities
  • Veterans / statistics & numerical data