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What Is Tau and Its Role in Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy? What Is Tau and Its Role in Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy?

Comments [5]

Click on any phrase to play the video at that point.
Tau is a microtubule-associated protein. It lines up on the inside of the nerve cell and stabilizes the nerve cell. It's important for regulating the nerve cell. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy is a neurodegenerative disorder, so it's a disease where the brain starts to deteriorate, and as it deteriorates it builds up huge amounts of this protein in the form of what's called neurofibrillary tangle. So they're inclusions inside nerve cells, and they look sort of like skeins of yarn or like tangles. That's why their name is that. In CTE, you see tangles, these tau-containing tangles, in a very unique pattern throughout the brain. There are other diseases that have tau protein, like Alzheimer's disease, or even some other diseases, but not in this pattern. This is a very unique and distinctive pattern.

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Tau protein shows up in the brain in other neurodegenerative diseases, but only in this unique, tangled pattern in CTE.

See all videos interviews with Dr. Ann McKee.

Produced by Noel Gunther and Brian King, BrainLine.

Ann McKee, MDAnn McKee, MD is the chief neuropathologist for the Framingham Heart Study and the Boston University-based Centenarian Study. She is also the chief neuropathologist for the Boston-based Veterans Administration Medical Centers and for the Sports Legacy Institute.

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Comments [5]

As important as an issue as this is with sports, it could be the catalyst, as pointed out by one reviewer above, to turn attention to ALL concussion cases that are "non-celebrity" in nature. 

Sep 21st, 2016 11:54pm

The myopic focus on athletes sustaining brain injury, most "importantly" pro, then amateur and lastly children with the recent "back to play" standards (that should be cross the board in all ER rooms but are not) boarders on discrimination. Some literature is finally starting to acknowledge abused women as sustaining MORE and more serious brain injuries than athletes. I watched an entire mainstream news program with 2 head injury specialist discuss school sports head injuries for an entire hour, only to close in agreement with the statement that the majority of their head injury patients were adults who were injured in FALLS- not car accidents- falls. The definition of discrimination is treating one group differently than another and the difference creating or resulting in differential treatment to another group. This is grounds for a human rights violation. Abused women are a seriously socially and historically disadvantaged group - as are women themselves. As such the myopic focus on a wealthy, famous, socially privileged group of athletes over and above a socially discarded, blamed, shamed, humiliated, silence group of victims of crime meet the definition of discrimination in full. ER and other 'care givers" owe a legal duty of care to abused women and our rehab should be - but is no where near - the care received by privileged and "socially idolized groups of people because we are socially stigmatized and rejected both in the general public and with substandard "medical" care. This medical abuse has got to stop.

Mar 20th, 2016 2:45pm

I know that there is an increased risk of developing Alzheimer disease following TBI. With CTE and the unique Tau tangles, is there a link to the development of Tau tangles as seen in other neurological disorders such as Alzheimers? 

Jan 5th, 2016 9:24pm

You need to find a Chiropractic Neurologist.  They've been helping many soldiers/veterans/non-veterans with the effects of Traumatic Brain Injuries (also connected with PTSD).  You can find a local doctor at www.acnb.org.  Good luck to you!

May 18th, 2015 8:50am

How can I find someone to test for this...multiple tbi survivor...need help...doctors here are virtually clueless on this subject.

May 14th, 2015 6:29pm


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