Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a neurodegenerative disorder that may develop following many kinds of head injury.


The condition in boxers is called dementia pugilistica.


The affected person has a history of head trauma, often repetitive. This can be encountered in contact sports such as football, hockey, boxing and other martial arts.


The risk tends to increase with earlier age of head injury, greater severity and greater frequency.


Clinical features:

(1) The onset is usually several years after the head injury and insidious. For many athletes the onset is during middle age.

(2) The patient may present with

(2a) behavioral change: irritability, anger, depression, suicidality, apathy, loss of inhibitory control

(2b) defects in cognitive function: poor episodic memory or poor executive functioning

(3) The patient may develop:

(3a) a movement disorder such as Parkinson’s disease

(3b) disordered speech

(3c) ocular abnormalities

(3d) need for assistance in activities of daily living (ADL)

(4) Eventually the patient may develop dementia.


Other diagnoses must be excluded before the diagnosis of CTE can be made..


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