Chronic traumatic encephalopathy: Understanding the facts and debate

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5 Scopus citations


Purpose of reviewChronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is hypothesized to be a progressive neurodegenerative disease leading to dementia after repetitive head impacts. This review summarizes the recent evidence on CTE to highlight the facts currently known and the areas that remain poorly understood.Recent findingsIncreasing evidence suggests that many of the prior assertions about CTE in relation to repetitive head trauma are premature. First, CTE lesions have been observed in individuals with no history of head trauma/impacts. In addition, attempts to characterize possible clinical markers of CTE have had several shortcomings, notably an absence of detailed clinical assessments during life, vague/nonspecific symptom reports, and crude methodology. Moreover, recent studies demonstrate that current CTE pathological criteria have limitations and are in need of refinement/validation.SummaryCTE is still in the early stages of research as a neuropathological condition and no specific clinical criteria exist. Claims about CTE being a progressive disease entity and caused exclusively by head trauma/impacts are not well supported at present. Such assertions may have impeded our understanding of the frequency and significance of this disorder. Refining diagnostic criteria to reduce ambiguity in classifying cases will be essential before risk factors and/or possible clinical markers may be identified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-135
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • concussion
  • dementia
  • traumatic brain injury
  • traumatic encephalopathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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