September 29, 2016
The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai recently released a proof-of-concept study with evidence that an experimental positron emission tomography (PET) tracer can effectively diagnose concussion-related brain degeneration in living people.
The research team at Mount Sinai utilized an experimental imaging agent, called [18 F]-T807 with PET to study the brain of a living, 39-year old retired National Football League (NFL) player who experienced approximately 22 concussions over the course of his career.
The former player showed symptoms consistent with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative disease of the brain caused by repeated hits to the head. The imaging agent used in the study was designed to stick to a protein in the brain, called tau, that accumulates as a result of repeated head injuries. A PET scan, with the use of the imaging agent, showed a buildup of tau in a characteristic pattern consistent with CTE.