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Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering
SJR: 0.243 SNIP: 0.376 CiteScore™: 0.79

ISSN Druckformat: 0278-940X
ISSN Online: 1943-619X

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Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevBiomedEng.2017021970
pages 473-492

Imaging Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy: A Biomedical Engineering Perspective

Paul Polak
McMaster School of Biomedical Engineering, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; Imaging Research Centre, St. Joseph's Healthcare, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
John Van Tuyl
McMaster School of Biomedical Engineering, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Robin Engel
McMaster School of Biomedical Engineering, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada


A disease initially associated with boxers ninety years ago, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is now recognized as a significant risk to boxers, American football players, ice hockey players, military personnel or anyone to whom recurrent head injuries are a distinct possibility. Diagnosis is currently confirmed at autopsy, although CTE's presumed sufferers have symptoms of depression, suicidal thoughts, mood and personality changes, and loss of memory. CTE sufferers also complain of losing cognitive ability, dysfunction in everyday activities, inability to keep regular employment, violent tendencies and marital strife. Dementia may develop over the long term. Unfortunately, there is no clear consensus in regards to pathology, with both number and severity of head injuries being linked to disease progression. Despite the slow advancement of this disease, there are no clinical methods to diagnose or monitor prognosis in presumed patients, limiting clinicians' efforts to symptom management. The lack of diagnostic tools fuels the need for biomedical engineers to develop techniques for in vivo detection of CTE. This review examines efforts made with various magnetic resonance and nuclear imaging techniques, with a view towards improving the sensitivity and specificity of diagnostic imaging for CTE.

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