About Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI), a form of acquired brain injury, occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. TBI can result when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue. Symptoms of a TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the extent of the damage to the brain. A person with a mild TBI may remain conscious or may experience a loss of consciousness for a few seconds or minutes. Other symptoms of mild TBI include headache, confusion, lightheadedness, dizziness, blurred vision or tired eyes, ringing in the ears, bad taste in the mouth, fatigue or lethargy, a change in sleep patterns, behavioral or mood changes, and trouble with memory, concentration, attention, or thinking. A person with a moderate or severe TBI may show these same symptoms, but may also have a headache that gets worse or does not go away, repeated vomiting or nausea, convulsions or seizures, an inability to awaken from sleep, dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes, slurred speech, weakness or numbness in the extremities, loss of coordination, and increased confusion, restlessness, or agitation.

Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) Center conducts high-impact, innovative research on chronic traumatic encephalopathy and other long-term consequences of repetitive brain trauma in athletes and military personnel. The mission of the CTE Center is to conduct state-of-the-art research on CTE, including its neuropathology and pathogenesis, clinical presentation, genetics and other risk factors, biomarkers, methods of detection during life, and methods of prevention and treatment.

BU might be closer to diagnosing CTE during life
Boston University researchers have moved closer to identifying a way to diagnose chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, in the living — a step forward in learning about the incurable brain disease, which has afflicted countless athletes and members of the military.

The CTE Center is an independent academic research center located at Boston University School of Medicine. Part of the Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center (BU ADC), it was established in 1996 as one of 29 centers in the United States funded by the National Institutes of Health to advance research on Alzheimer’s disease and related conditions.
In collaboration with the VA Boston Healthcare System, and nonprofits including the Concussion Legacy Foundation (formerly known as the Sports Legacy Institute), and other NIH funded ADC Centers the CTE Center conducts high-impact, innovative research on chronic traumatic encephalopathy and other long-term consequences of repetitive brain trauma in athletes and military personnel.

Ann McKee, MD, Neuropathologist and Neurologist, is Director of the CTE Center. Dr. McKee also directs the Neuropathology Core of the Boston University ADC and directs all the brain banks at VA Boston Healthcare System, including the VA-BU-CLF brain bank and BU ADC brain bank. The neuropathologists, Thor Stein, MD, PhD, Bertrand (Russ) Huber MD, PhD and Victor Alvarez, MD participate in the daily operations of the VA-BU-CLF brain bank and conduct neuropathological analyses and research for the CTE Center. Robert Stern, PhD directs the Clinical Research team. Michael Alosco, PhD and Jesse Mez, MD, PhD are active clinical researchers and participate in clinical neurological and neuropsychological data collection. Dr. Lee Goldstein, MD, PhD heads the molecular research team.

Research conducted at the CTE Center continues to lead the field in furthering the understanding of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). The VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank is the largest tissue repository in the world focused on traumatic brain injury (TBI) and CTE. The VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank contains more than 425 brains, including over 270 brains that have been diagnosed with CTE using the recently defined NINDS criteria for the diagnosis of CTE. Dr. McKee and her team of neuropathologists and other investigators have published a large number of studies focused on CTE.