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Boston University Announces Potential Method to Diagnose CTE in Living Patients

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistSeptember 26, 2017

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 29:  General view of a bag of Footballs before the game between the New York Jets and the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on August 29, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images for New York Jets)
Al Pereira/Getty Images

Researchers at Boston University have discovered a method that may allow them to diagnose CTE in living patients, per TSN's Rick Westhead

The discovery comes after Boston University researchers studied the brains of 91 different living subjects, including 23 former college and professional football players, 50 non-athletes who have Alzheimer's disease and 18 non-athletes without Alzheimer's.

The football players in the study "had a heightened level of CCL11, a particular biomarker" of CTE, per Westhead.

Dr. Ann McKee, director of BU’s CTE Center and senior author of the new study, did note this new research is still in the early stages and more work must be done. 

“It’s a unique disease, and it’s going to have unique proteins that are modified in this disease and this is the first indication that we’ve found one of the unique proteins,” she said, via Rick Maese of the Washington Post

CTE is a neurodegenerative brain disease that has been linked to football players. Medical journal JAMA published a study in July that found 177 out of 202 deceased former football players at all levels had CTE, including 110 out of 111 former NFL players. 

Greg Bishop of Sports Illustrated noted "many" players told him they would take a test to discover CTE if it was possible.

As of right now, the disease is only been able to be diagnosed through a full autopsy and brain analysis in patients after their death.