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New Jersey residents may be aware that there is currently no way for doctors to find out if a living patient suffers from the recently discovered neurological disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy. CTE was first observed in brain samples taken from deceased professional football players, and autopsies still provide the only way for doctors to identify the progressive and degenerative condition.
Finding a way to diagnose CTE in living individuals would be a major medical breakthrough, and some of the leading scientists in the field hope that a study of 240 men between 45 and 74 years of age could provide crucial evidence. Half of the men will be selected from the ranks of former NFL players, and the other half will be equally compromised of men who played football in college and men who have never seriously participated in contact sports.
The scientists will be paying close attention to biometric, psychiatric and neurological factors such as chemical markers, and particular attention will be paid to any signs of the compounds associated with abnormal tau levels. Large accumulations of this protein have been found in the tissue of individuals diagnosed with CTE post-mortem. The scientists will begin working on the project during the summer of 2016 and will track the men for three years.
The discussion over CTE diagnosis highlights the nebulous nature of brain injuries and the unique challenges they present to medical professionals. Those who suffer traumatic head injuries are sometimes never able to fully recover and enjoy life in the way that they once did, and this is why personal injury attorneys may call upon neurologists or other medical experts when representing plaintiffs who have been injured in such a manner due to another party’s negligence, such as in a car accident. This kind of testimony may help jurors to understand the reach that these injuries can sometimes have and how the lives of those who suffer them may be irrevocably changed.