For the first time ever, researchers have been able to detect a microscopic protein in the brain of living individuals by using PET scans. The protein, “tau”, has been linked to a condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a neurodegenerative disorder which can be provoked by repeated brain injuries. CTE usually afflicts ex-NFL players, boxers and military veterans.
In the past, we were able to identify this protein in the brain tissue of individuals only after death and offer at that time a final diagnosis (not very useful for the person concerned…).
The capacity to detect this protein in the brain of living people could greatly improve diagnosis of the condition and offer new avenues to find effective treatments.