Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

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Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a disease of the brain found in athletes, military veterans, and others with a history of repetitive head impacts. This type of trauma can trigger progressive degeneration of the brain tissue, including the build-up of an abnormal form of a protein called tau.   The brain degeneration is associated with memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, parkinsonism, and eventually progressive dementia.  For more information visit our CTE FAQ page.

Message from Dr. Stern: For the past several years, much of my research has focused on the long-term consequences of repetitive head impacts (RHI) in athletes, including the neurodegenerative disease, CTE.  I was co-founder of the BU Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy (CSTE; now referred to as the CTE Program within the BU AD and CTE Center), and I oversee clinical research on CTE for our center.  I've played a key role in my colleague, Dr. Ann McKee’s groundbreaking work describing the unique neuropathology of CTE.  I've described the clinical presentation and subtypes of the disease, based on “psychological autopsies” and record review of deceased individuals with neuropathologically confirmed CTE.  I've also published research diagnostic criteria for Traumatic Encephalopathy Syndrome and Possible and Probable CTE. My lab has also been examining the exposure and genetic risk factors for developing CTE. My research also spans the investigation of  biomarkers and methods for detecting and diagnosing CTE during life. 

Additional Resources

Below is a video featuring CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta explaining the thought causes and symptoms of CTE.


CTE Clinical Research Studies