Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a form of neurodegeneration that is believed to result from repeated head injuries. Originally termed dementia pugilistica due to its association with boxing, the neuropathology of CTE was first described by Corsellis in 1973 in a case series of 15 retired boxers. CTE has recently been found to occur following other causes of repeated head trauma, suggesting that any repeated blows to the head, such as those that occur due to American football, hockey, soccer, professional wrestling, and physical abuse, can also lead to neurodegenerative changes. These changes often include cerebral atrophy, cavum septum pellucidum with fenestrations, shrinkage of the mammillary bodies, dense tau immunoreactive inclusions (neurofibrillary tangles, glial tangles, and neuropil neurites), diffuse axonal injury, and, in some cases, a TDP-43 proteinopathy. In association with these pathological changes, affected individuals often exhibit disordered memory and executive functioning, behavioral and personality disturbances (e.g., apathy, depression, irritability, impulsiveness, suicidality), parkinsonism, and, occasionally, motor neuron disease. At the present time, there are no formal clinical or pathological diagnostic criteria for CTE, but the distinctive neuropathological profile of the disorder lends promise for future research into its prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
Keywords: Encephalopathy, Post-Traumatic, Neurodegenerative Disorders, Concussion, Athletic Injuries, Dementia, Motor Neuron Disease