As I struggle along with my recovery I am actually getting more and more worried. I have had so many head injuries over the last 40+ years the more I am reading and learning about head injuries the more I am thinking there is far more serious issues in play.
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease found in people who have had a severe blow or repeated blows to the head. The disease was previously called dementia pugilistica (DP), i.e. “punch-drunk,” as it was initially found in those with a history of boxing. CTE has been most commonly found in professional athletes participating in American football, rugby, ice hockey, boxing, professional wrestling, stunt performing, bull riding, rodeo, and other contact sports who have experienced repeated concussions or other brain trauma. Its presence in domestic violence is also being investigated. It can affect high school athletes, especially American football players, following few years of activity. It is a form of tauopathy.
Signs and symptoms:
Symptoms of CTE generally begin 8–10 years after experiencing repetitive mild traumatic brain injury. First stage symptoms include deterioration in attention as well as disorientation, dizziness, and headaches. Further disabilities appear with progressive deterioration, including memory loss, social instability, erratic behavior, and poor judgment. Third and fourth stages include progressive dementia, slowing of muscular movements, hypomimia, impeded speech, tremors, vertigo, deafness, and suicidality. Additional symptoms include dysarthria, dysphagia, and ocular abnormalities – such as ptosis.
Currently, CTE can only be definitively diagnosed by direct tissue examination, including full autopsies and immunohistochemical brain analyses.
The neuropathological appearance of CTE is distinguished from other tauopathies, such as Alzheimer’s disease. The four clinical stages of observable CTE disability have been correlated with tau pathology in brain tissue, ranging in severity from focal perivascular epicentres of neurofibrillary tangles in the frontal neocortex to severe tauopathy affecting widespread brain regions.
When will I know for certain?
The lack of in vivo techniques to show distinct biomarkers for CTE is the reason CTE cannot currently be diagnosed during lifetime. The only known diagnosis for CTE occurs by studying the brain tissue after death. Concussions are non-structural injuries and do not result in brain bleeding, which is why most concussions cannot be seen on routine neuroimaging tests such as CT or MRI. Acute concussion symptoms (those that occur shortly after an injury) should not be confused with CTE. Differentiating between prolonged post-concussion syndrome (PCS, where symptoms begin shortly after a concussion and last for weeks, months, and sometimes even years) and CTE symptoms can be difficult. Research studies are currently examining whether neuroimaging can detect subtle changes in axonal integrity and structural lesions that can occur in CTE. Recently, more progress in in-vivo diagnostic techniques for CTE has been made, using DTI, fMRI, MRI, and MRS imaging; however, more research needs to be done before any such techniques can be validated.
OOPS, I guess I won’t worry about CTE if true, I will be dead before they find out if this is what is going on.
Things seems to be a little on the easy side of things to be only a Post Concussion Syndrome as my symptoms are far more severe than listed below:
Post-concussion symptoms include:
- Loss of concentration and memory
- Noise and light sensitivity
Headaches that occur after a concussion can vary and may feel like tension-type headaches or migraines. Most, however, are tension-type headaches, which may be associated with a neck injury that happened at the same time as the head injury.
In some cases, people experience behavior or emotional changes after a mild traumatic brain injury. Family members may notice that the person has become more irritable, suspicious, argumentative or stubborn.
I do think this is something I have as well, but not only, and this is where I am starting to think I have messed myself up really good this time.
Traumatic Brain Injury:
Traumatic brain injury can have wide-ranging physical and psychological effects. Some signs or symptoms may appear immediately after the traumatic event, while others may appear days or weeks later.
Mild traumatic brain injury
The signs and symptoms of mild traumatic brain injury may include:
- Loss of consciousness for a few seconds to a few minutes
- No loss of consciousness, but a state of being dazed, confused or disoriented
- Nausea or vomiting
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Difficulty sleeping
- Sleeping more than usual
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Sensory problems, such as blurred vision, ringing in the ears, a bad taste in the mouth or changes in the ability to smell
- Sensitivity to light or sound
Cognitive or mental symptoms
- Memory or concentration problems
- Mood changes or mood swings
- Feeling depressed or anxious
Moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries
Moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries can include any of the signs and symptoms of mild injury, as well as the following symptoms that may appear within the first hours to days after a head injury:
- Loss of consciousness from several minutes to hours
- Persistent headache or headache that worsens
- Repeated vomiting or nausea
- Convulsions or seizures
- Dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes
- Clear fluids draining from the nose or ears
- Inability to awaken from sleep
- Weakness or numbness in fingers and toes
- Loss of coordination
Cognitive or mental symptoms
- Profound confusion
- Agitation, combativeness or other unusual behavior
- Slurred speech
- Coma and other disorders of consciousness