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Web extra: Symptoms and treatment options for CTE patients

Posted at 2:58 PM, Sep 30, 2019

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — In 2014, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in 87% of the deceased former football players that they examined. The disease has been linked to a number of physical and neurological diseases but what are the symptoms and treatment options for people who have it?

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According to the Concussion Legacy Foundation (CLF), a group that studies and raises awareness about CTE, here are some symptoms of the disease:

  • Problems with thinking and memory including memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Impaired judgment
  • Eventual progressive dementia
  • Mood changes
  • Headaches

The CLF says the disease can't be officially diagnosed until after death but says there are options for treatment:

Mood changes
Mood changes, including depression, irritability, and anxiety, may be treated with cognitive behavioral therapy. Working with a cognitive behavioral therapist can help patients develop strategies that help them manage the particular mood symptoms that are causing the greatest problems.

A variety of treatment options exist for headache, including craniosacral therapy, massage, acupuncture, or medications. Working with a doctor to determine the type of headache is helpful for determining the best treatment options.

Memory problems
Memory training exercises, including consistent note-taking strategies, can be helpful for continuing a patient's activities of daily living, despite increasing difficulty with memory.

According to the study in JAMA, people who were most likely to develop CTE were those who suffered years of concussions. The CLF says people who suffer one concussion are not likely to develop the disease.