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Introduction

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)
is the neurodegenerative condition
occurring most commonly in athletes with
a history of brain trauma. (McKee 2009)
This triggers a build up of a protein called
tau after a substantial amount of time
from the last injury or athletic
involvement.The outcome results in the
patient sustaining symptoms paralleling
those of Alzheimers such as memory loss
and confusion.

Problem Statement

Due to the fact this field is still in its infancy
of research,(Gavett 2011) it is crucial to
understand more about this debilitating
condition by determining the number of
concussions in which it is induced. By doing
so, athlete’s lives could potentially be
prolonged.

Review of Literature
❖ McKee, A. C., e.t. all. (2009). Chronic
Traumatic Encephalopathy in Athletes:
Progressive Tauopathy following
Repetitive Head Injury. Journal of
Neuropathology and Experimental
Neurology, 68(7), 709–735.
❖ Mckee, A. (n.d.). (2012). The Spectrum of
Disease in Chronic Traumatic
Encephalopathy. Brain A Journal of
Neurology, 1-22. Retrieved October 22,
2014
❖ Small, G., e.t. all. (n.d.). PET Scanning of
Brain Tau in Retired National Football
League Players: Preliminary Findings.
The American Journal of Geriatric
Psychiatry, 21(2), 138-144. Retrieved
January 31, 2015
❖ Gavett, B. E., e.t. all (2011). Chronic
Traumatic Encephalopathy: A Potential
Late Effect of Sport-Related Concussive
and Subconcussive Head Trauma. Clinics
in Sports Medicine, 30(1), 179.
Isabelle Seward
isabelleseward@gmail.com
Ridgefield High School Science
Research

Determining the Number of
Concussions That Occur in Order to
Induce Stage I Chronic Traumatic
Encephalopathy
Hypothesis
The tau pathology patterns of CTE in a patient utilizing FDDNP (2-(1-{6-[(2-[F-18]fluoroethyl)
(methyl)amino]-2-napthyl}ethylidene) chemical marker in a positron emission tomography
scan will correlate to the number of reported concussions sustained in the subject’s lifespan,
determining the total number before Stage I is induced.

Proposed Methodology
Concussion history of high school, collegiate, professional and retired American
Football players will be observed to determine correlations between total number of
reported injuries in the subject’s life.
PET (positron emission tomography) brain scans of high-school, collegiate, and
professional level football athletes in addition to a retired player, all demonstrating
Stage I severity of CTE will be compared to each other and a control to examine p-tau
build up patterns.*

❖ Small, G., e.t. all. (n.d.). PET
Scanning of Brain Tau in
Retired National Football
League Players: Preliminary
Findings. The American
Journal of Geriatric
Psychiatry, 21(2), 138-144.
Retrieved January 31, 2015

*Alternate approaches may include the ultization of CT or MRI Scan in place of the PET Scan
which would allow observation of how the brain structure is effected by the disease as opposed to
just chemical activity within it.

Proposed Results
Expected results should show similarities of
entanglement concentrated mostly around
vessels or at the depths of the sulci in the
cerebral cortex. Limited p-tau
concentrations may be found in the locus
coeruleus. In addition to the similarities of
tau pathology in the Stage I samples, the
demographic factors of concussion history
should point to be closely similar despite
age of player or mean numbers of years
playing football.

Future Implications
Based on the results of correlations
between both the player’s demographic
and PET findings, numerous implications
may be applied in terms of diagnosis and
athlete safety

❖ By determining the number of
concussions that induce Stage I of
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy,
regulations can be set to limit
participation when an athlete has
sustained a set number of concussions.
This could be implicated regardless of
age, level of ability, sport and position in
order to better benefit the population
❖ Usage of the Positron Emission
Tomography Scanner, as noted in the
studies of G. Small e.t. all, in addition to
the findings of this proposed research
may be beneficial in terms of diagnosing
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in
live athletes, potentially prolonging their
lives.