As of December 2012, 33 former NFL football players had been diagnosed post mortem with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). In October, 2010 17 year old Nathan Stiles, a high school football player died hours after a final hit at his high school homecoming game. This was on top of the many subconcussive blows endured previously. He was diagnosed with CTE making him the youngest reported CTE case.
CTE is caused by repetitive concussive blows to the head. This is common in boxing, football, and soccer. The symptoms of CTE occur years after the traumatic events. Auto-anitbodies enter the brain through the damaged blood brain barrier and cause inflammatory proteins to build up. The build up of Tau proteins in certain areas of the brain is the consistent hallmark finding in the post mortem brains of CTE sufferers. Unfortunately to date there is no way to diagnose this disease in a living brain.
Bursts of anger
In addition to not being able to officially diagnose a living sufferer of the symptoms of CTE, there is no treatment. When suspected to have CTE, the patient is told to modify his activities and have a routine lifestyle. The medications used to treat the symptoms are your typical antidepressants and psychiatric medications. These of course come with their own physical and psychological side effects. The former players whose CTE symptoms caused their demise were on psychiatric meds for their long standing symptoms.
This is where naturopathic medicine has an advantage over conventional medicine. There are many options for those suspected to have CTE. Oxygen therapy and nutritional supplements can control the inflammation in the brain. Neurotransmitter therapy can replenish and balance out the friendly neurotransmitters such as GABA and serotonin to calm and stabilize the emotions. There are known nutritional supplements that have been used for years to heighten the brain’s function to allow for better focus and memory.
It is my hope that those who are suffering and confused as to why this is happening and what can be done, will know about naturopathic medicine and its many ways to improve the quality of life.
Jane Hendricks NMD