Researchers at Boston University may be able to diagnose CTE in living patients

In what would be a major breakthrough for medical science, researchers at Boston University may have developed a method to diagnose chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in living patients. It has previously been thought that CTE, a degenerative brain disease found in people who have had multiple head injuries, could only be diagnosed posthumously. 

TSN's Rick Westhead, who obtained a copy of the research report, shared some of its findings on Twitter:

Neuropathologist Dr. Ann McKee, chief of neuropathology at VA Boston Healthcare System and director of the CTE Center at Boston University, performed a study of 202 brains, 111 of them from former NFL players, and found that all but one of them was diagnosed with CTE. Of the 202 brains in the study among players from all levels of football, 87 percent had CTE.

"The study found that the high school players had mild cases, while college and professional players showed more severe effects. But even those with mild cases exhibited cognitive, mood and behavioral symptoms," the New York Times wrote in July. 

The age of players in the study ranged from 23 to 89 years old, and the position those players played was seemingly irrelevant to whether they developed CTE. The study examined the brains of 44 linemen, 20 running backs, 17 defensive backs, 13 linebackers, seven quarterbacks, five wide receivers, two tight ends, one punter and one kicker. 

CTE has been shown to have several side effects, including but not limited to depression. Several former NFL players experienced symptoms of depression and some committed suicide. Dave Duerson, Junior Seau, Andre Waters, Ray Easterling, Jovan Belcher and Aaron Hernandez are among the former players found after dying at their own hands to have had CTE. 

CBS Sports Writer

Jared Dubin is a New York lawyer and writer. He joined CBSSports.com in 2014 and has since spent far too much of his time watching film and working in spreadsheets. Full Bio

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