New brain scan a leap forward for CTE research

May 13, 2016

The image is a splotchy rainbow of a PET-scan, showing abnormalities in the brain of a former NFL football player.

The unnamed player suffered head trauma in his career, and it shows. The scan was captured recently by New York City researchers who are racing to develop methods for detecting brain disease in living athletes and soldiers — a disease that currently can only be diagnosed through autopsy.

The brain scan, made possible with a new generation of radioactive pharmaceuticals, brings researchers a step closer to understanding chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, the devastating illness that afflicted Mike Webster, Junior Seau, and unknown numbers of athletes.

...The research relies on a new ligand called T807, which is not yet FDA-approved and has only been used in human research since 2014.

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