Chronic traumatic encephalopathy: neuroimaging biomarkers

Lin A, Charney M, Shenton ME, Koerte IK

Handb Clin Neurol 2018;158:309-322

PMID: 30482359


Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a neurodegenerative disorder associated with repetitive head impact exposure, such as that resulting from sports-related concussive and subconcussive brain trauma. Currently, the only way to diagnose CTE is by using neuropathologic markers obtained postmortem. To diagnose CTE earlier, so that possible treatment interventions may be employed, there is a need to develop noninvasive in vivo biomarkers of CTE. Neuroimaging provides promising biomarkers for the diagnosis of CTE and may also help elucidate pathophysiologic changes that occur with chronic sports-related brain injury. To describe the use of neuroimaging as presumed biomarkers of CTE, this chapter focuses on only those studies that report the chronic stages of sports-related brain injury, as opposed to previous chapters that described neuroimaging in the context of acute and subacute injury. Studies using positron emission tomography and magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy will be discussed for contact/collision sports such as American football, boxing, mixed martial arts, rugby, and soccer, in which repetitive head impacts are common.