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Cte (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy)

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 6, 2024.

What is chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)?

CTE is permanent brain damage caused by repeated traumatic brain injuries, such as concussions. A concussion is an injury that causes the brain to hit the skull. Brain tissue is damaged, causing symptoms such as a headache, dizziness, or ringing in your ears. A brain injury that does not cause symptoms is called a subconcussive impact. Repeated traumatic brain injuries cause certain proteins to form over time that prevent the brain from working properly.

What increases my risk for CTE?

What are the signs and symptoms of CTE?

Signs and symptoms may be mild at first and become more severe over several years. You may have any of the following:

How is CTE diagnosed and managed?

Currently, CTE cannot be diagnosed through any tests. Your healthcare provider may suspect you have CTE if you have personality or other changes. Tell your provider if you have a history of head injuries, and when they occurred. Your provider may also do a neurologic exam to check how well your brain works. Your pupils will be checked for how they react to light. Your provider may check your memory, hand grasp, and balance. CTE cannot be cured, but the symptoms can be managed:

What can I do to prevent CTE?

CTE develops slowly, over time. You may be able to lower your risk by preventing head injuries:

Where can I find more information?

Call your local emergency department (911 in the US) or have someone call if:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

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Further information

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