Toronto researchers find CTE in brain of patient with no concussion history

CTE found in brain of patient with no concussion history

TORONTO — Researchers at Toronto Western Hospital’s Canadian Concussion Centre have discovered the presence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in the brain of a deceased patient with no known history of concussions.

They say it’s the first known case of its kind.

The case study was published in the International Journal of Pathology and Research and presented at the centre’s annual symposium on concussion research.

The finding resulted from an autopsy examining the brain of a patient with a seven-year history of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as ALS, and motor neuron disease.

The patient’s family said he had no history of head trauma or any participation in activities associated with risk of concussion.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, is a neurodegenerative brain disorder that has been linked to multiple concussions.

“The finding of CTE in an individual who not only had no known head trauma, but also showed no signs of dementia or cognitive impairment and was high functioning mentally until his death, highlights that the cause of CTE might be more complex than we assume,” Dr. Lili-Naz Hazrati, a neuropathologist with the research team who conducted the autopsy, said in a release.

Previously, researchers have only seen CTE in the brains of people with a history of brain injury or multiple concussions, Hazrati said.

“We are not questioning that a relationship may exist between repetitive head trauma and brain degeneration,” she said. “But, at this point in time, we have more questions than answers about the definitive causes of CTE, and findings like these give us new directions to pursue and investigate.”

Dr. Charles Tator, director of the concussion centre and co-author of the study, said it was an “interesting development” that would help provide more understanding of the disease.

“As researchers, we need to go where the evidence takes us, and it now seems possible that CTE affects a wider range of people,” he said.

“The more we know about this disease, the more likely we’ll be able to figure out how to treat it and perhaps eventually prevent it.”

According to the concussion centre, brain autopsies of cases where individuals reported suffering multiple concussions have yielded a wide range of results, including no neuropathological changes in the brain, presence of CTE alone, presence of CTE and another neurodegenerative disease, or a non-CTE neurodegenerative disease only.

“Obviously brain trauma and repetitive brain trauma can result in cognitive impairment and possibly contribute to a neurodegenerative disease,” said Hazrati.

“But since we’ve seen cases of brains that experienced multiple concussions but don’t have CTE, and now a brain with CTE but absence of any head trauma, there is indication that we should be cautious about labelling trauma as the only possible cause of CTE because it looks to be more complicated than that.”

CTE has been found in the brains of multiple former athletes. The National Football League and National Hockey League were sued by former players who suffered concussions and other head injuries. The NFL settled for US$1 billion, while the suit against the NHL is pending. The CFL has also been named in a class-action lawsuit over concussions and brain trauma.

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Caught on Camera: Boat catches fire at Kelowna marina

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time, no injuries were reported as a result of the blaze

Kelowna Chiefs win in epic overtime battle in emotional memorial night to late owner

The Chiefs hounoured Grant Sheridan with a win in the team’s home-opener

West Kelowna’s stuggles continue as Warriors drop game in Merritt

The Warriors gave up a 2-0 lead to lose 4-2 Friday night

West Kelowna won’t get an urgent care centre says health minister

Adrian Dix says other options are being considered to improve health services on Westside

Climate protesters temporarily shut down Bernard Avenue in Kelowna

Protesters are demanding politicans take action to stop climate change

VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Cari McGillivray posted the head-turning video, shot near Stewart, B.C., to social media

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

Okanagan hosts Mexico for soccer

The Okanagan Masters League won both matches against their Mexican counterparts

Takaya, B.C.’s intriguing lone wolf, seen eating seal and howling away on Discovery Island

Fun facts about Takaya the wolf, like his a 36-hour tour around Chatham, Discovery Islands

Graffiti, calls and Snapchat: RCMP probe string of threats targeting Kamloops schools

There have been nine different threats made to four different schools in the city

Most Read