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You are here News Health Researchers: CTE was detected in living former NFL player

Researchers: CTE was detected in living former NFL player

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CTE found in living football player For the first time, research has confirmed that scientists successfully detected chronic traumatic encephalopathy -- known commonly as CTE -- in a living former professional football player.

Scientists detected signs of the dementia-like disease in former player Fred McNeill four years ago, but it's not possible to confirm CTE until after a patient's death. McNeill died in 2015, and confirmation he had the disease was made last week in the journal Neurosurgery, scientists said Wednesday.

"The importance of this one today is that this is the first time to have a scan which shows brain degeneration of CTE in a living person and then to have that person die and it correlates with the autopsy," Dr. Julian Bailes, a neurosurgeon at NorthShore University in Illinois, said.

Research found the presence of tau, a protein that forms around damaged neural cells, in 14 retired players using a brain scan -- including McNeill, who'd been under observation for exhibiting symptoms of CTE.

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