Football players may be able to be diagnosed for CTE before death

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Researchers may have found a way to diagnose chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in football players while they are still alive.

CTE is a progressive brain disease caused by repeated trauma to the head. It usually shows up years after taking repeated blows to the head, and can lead to symptoms like confusion, depression, aggression, memory retention, and other forms of cognitive degeneration, according to Quartz.

Currently, CTE can only be diagnosed through an autopsy. Researchers have found that people who had CTE displayed abnormal clusters of the tau protein throughout the brain.
Doctors believe the tau protein is responsible for killing off neurons.

Researchers at Boston University wanted to look for other markers in people suffering from CTE.

Scientists found that people with CTE showed elevated levels of the protein CLL11 in both spinal fluid and the blood around the brain in the skull.

They believe the CLL11 protein helps the smallest blood vessels in the brain move oxygen. Higher levels of CLL11 could mean these blood vessels are leaking, which may lead to CTE symptoms.

The team at Boston University is now working with a biotech company to develop a blood test to detect CLL11 and diagnose living players.

More research still needs to be conducted on the CLL11 protein to confirm it isn't linked with other kinds of neurodegenerative diseases.

There's no cure for CTE, but early diagnosis could give players a chance to mitigate the disease.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Football players running into each other
2. Players with CTE have elevated levels of CLL11 protein
3. Football players with elevated levels of CLL11 protein
4. Researchers working on a blood test to identify the CLL11 protein

VOICEOVER (in English):
"CTE is a progressive brain disease caused by repeated trauma to the head. It usually shows up years after taking repeated blows."

"Currently, CTE can only be diagnosed through an autopsy. Researchers at Boston University wanted to look for other markers and found people with CTE had elevated levels of the protein CLL11 in both spinal fluid and blood around the brain."

"Researchers believe the CLL11 protein helps the smallest blood vessels in the brain transport oxygen. Higher levels of CLL11 could mean these blood vessels are leaking, which may lead to CTE symptoms."

"The team at Boston University is now working with a biotech company to develop a blood test to detect CLL11 and diagnose living players."

SOURCES: Quartz, Plos One
https://qz.com/1088571/scientists-may-be-able-to-test-nfl-players-for-cte-while-theyre-alive/
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0185541