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New Hope For Diagnosis Of Concussion-Related Brain Disease

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A neuroimaging technique demonstrated in the United States could help clinicians diagnose concussion-related brain disease for the first time.

Until now, there has been no effective way of diagnosing chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) while the patient is still alive.

But researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and at Molecular Neuroimaging (MNI) LLC in New Haven, have shown that an experimental positron emission tomography (PET) tracer is an effective method of diagnosing or ruling out CTE in a living brain.

Results of the study suggest that an experimental radiolabeled compound called [18F]-T807, which is designed to latch on to a protein called tau that accumulates in the brain with repetitive blows to the head, can be registered on a PET scanner to effectively diagnose CTE.

Additionally, it´s thought that the process can differentiate the condition from other forms of dementia.

The findings were welcomed by Samuel Gandy, MD, director of the Center for Cognitive Health and NFL Neurological Care at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He noted that the National Football League predicted recently that one in three NFL players will suffer significant brain damage.

“We can now begin to test this while the players are still alive. Moreover, we are now equipped to tell prospective athletes of all ages some real data on the risks that accompany sports involving repeated traumatic brain injuries,” Dr. Gandy added.

The findings of the study were published this week in the journal Translational Psychiatry.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-09/tmsh-nti091614.php

http://www.nature.com/tp/journal/v4/n9/full/tp201491a.html