If this test can detect Alzheimers, can it detect CTE?

I came across this a while back, and I was prompted to recall it by a recent commenter:

Blood test can unveil Alzheimer’s

November 2, 2011 – 11:09

A Danish biotech firm has developed a new test which can detect, from a bog standard blood sample, whether the person concerned has Alzheimer’s disease. The test can even reveal the disease in its early stages.

Alzheimer’s is a disease that creeps up on you, and until now it has not been possible to diagnose it until is already pretty advanced. The new test can discover the disease before its symptoms are pronounced, to facilitate intervention with treatment and support. (Photo: Colourbox).

Researchers at the Danish biotech firm Nordic Bioscience have developed a new test for early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

The test can measure whether the blood contains fragments of a special protein, known as tau, of which Alzheimer’s sufferers have larger quantities than people without the disease.

Read the whole article here >>

Now, I’m not sure how similarly CTE interacts with tau protein, but the common piece of it caught my eye. Tau is the hallmark of CTE, so if it can be detected via a blood test for some scenarios, maybe it could be expanded…?

Wouldn’t it be nice, if we could detect the presence of CTE before all the years of anguish get rolling?

Author: brokenbrilliant

I am a long-term multiple (mild) Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI or TBI) survivor who experienced assaults, falls, car accidents, sports-related injuries in the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and '90s. My last mild TBI was in 2004, but it was definitely the worst of the lot. I never received medical treatment for my injuries, some of which were sports injuries (and you have to get back in the game!), but I have been living very successfully with cognitive/behavioral (social, emotional, functional) symptoms and complications since I was a young kid. I’ve done it so well, in fact, that virtually nobody knows that I sustained those injuries… and the folks who do know, haven’t fully realized just how it’s impacted my life. It has impacted my life, however. In serious and debilitating ways. I’m coming out from behind the shields I’ve put up, in hopes of successfully addressing my own (invisible) challenges and helping others to see that sustaining a TBI is not the end of the world, and they can, in fact, live happy, fulfilled, productive lives in spite of it all.

4 thoughts on “If this test can detect Alzheimers, can it detect CTE?”

  1. I’m a little conflicted about the early notice. If you can get treatment- great- early diagnosis is a life-saver. With Alzheimer’s there are drugs that slow the progression of the disease. With CTE, I don’t believe there is any such treatment. I’m afraid of what would happen if a diagnosis of CTE is given with no treatment options. Doctors aren’t always the most empathetic bunch. Sometimes not knowing is preferable. Just IMHO.


  2. Agreed – this is one of the arguments I have with the folks who are rushing to warn everyone of the horrors of CTE – yes, it is a terrible thing, when things go so wrong. At the same time, is that the *only* outcome for folks? It makes for increased funding, and it’s great for publicity, but what about those who are “supposed” to be impaired, yet aren’t? What about those of us who have sustained a bunch of injuries, yet continue to carry on our regular lives, despite the odds?

    It’s maddening. And so much of what is being found can be used against us. It IS being used against us, when no other possible outcome other than dementia and madness and suicide is projected.

    I wonder how much the alarmism is contributing to the suicides? I wonder how much the dire warnings are contributing to the culture of fear – which then feeds the reluctance to look at anything in an objective and/or constructive way?


  3. I would venture to say that alarmism is very much behind the suicides. We have to remember that doctors are also just human and while they make predictions to the best of their abilities- many times they are not accurate, no matter how skilled they are. There is so much about the human body- most especially the brain- that we do not understand. There are too many variables to say who will succumb to what and when and how severe it will be. It is SO hard as a family member/SO of someone with TBI to constantly reiterate that their future is not written in stone, despite everything the doctors say. This is so very damaging, especially for young people. At this point, NO doctor should be diagnosing CTE, unless they just ran a test from an autopsy- currently the ONLY method to diagnose CTE with any degree of certainty. Sigh.

    Thank you for this blog, by the way. It is immeasurably helpful.


  4. Thanks – I agree, it is incredibly difficult to keep reminding people that their future is not fixed – especially when their care providers are not offering them much hope or support. It is a very tough and fine line to walk, and I do have a lot of compassion for doctors who have to do so much, sometimes with so little.

    At the same time, though, I do think it’s important for care providers to take seriously their oath to assist those who come to them for help. Just writing someone off, or not offering them any hope at all, simply because you didn’t do your homework and you haven’t kept up with the literature, is not exactly the best someone can do.


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