Dr. Ann McKee describes the emergence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) as a distinct disease over the past 20 years.

Since 2003, hundreds of individuals have been diagnosed at postmortem examination with CTE. CTE has been reported in amateur and professional athletes, military service members, and individuals exposed to head banging, interpersonal violence, and poorly controlled epilepsy. The pathology of CTE is unique, characterized by a pathognomonic lesion consisting of a perivascular accumulation of neuronal phosphorylated tau (p-tau) at the depths of the cortical sulci and a distinctive molecular structural configuration of p-tau fibrils that is unlike the changes observed with aging, Alzheimer’s disease, or any other tauopathy.

Key Topics Include:

  • Computational 3-D and finite element models predict the location of p-tau pathology as the brain regions that undergo the greatest mechanical deformation during head impact injury. CTE is definitively diagnosed by postmortem neuropathological examination; what is the corresponding clinical condition syndrome known as Traumatic Encephalopathy Syndrome (TES)?
  • Is there a dose-response relationship between repetitive head impacts (RHI) and CTE?
  • Is there a causal relationship between cumulative and magnitude of RHI and CTE?
  • What are other non-tau pathologies that occur after RHI?


Professor / Director
Neurology and Pathology / Neuropathology Core
Boston University

Dr. Ann McKee completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin and received her medical degree from the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine.

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