There is a lot of confusion on whether concussions and CTE/Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) have any relation. To understand what a concussion is first, click here before reading on. We will be discussing Tau proteins and their connection to CTE/AD
What Is A Tau Protein?
Simply put, they are proteins that are found in neurons and provide stability and keeps the internal skeleton of neurons together
A shortage of these inside the neurons decreases brain function. Accumulation of Tau proteins outside the cell promotes brain cell damage death (source)
And how might these Tau proteins end up outside the neuron? Brain Trauma
DAIs And NFTs
When there is brain trauma, Tau proteins detach from the cell and float freely (quite bad)
In addition to this, there is diffuse axonal injury (DAI). When these Tau float freely, they connect with other Tau proteins and form neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs). These tangles slow the ability to think
What are the biological markers of AD?
DAIs and NFTs
A single traumatic brain injury (TBI) can induce progressive Tau pathology for years. The correlation of TBI and CTE/AD can be drawn given all the conditions share nearly identical biological markers
CTE and AD are triggered by the following:
- Chronic neuroinflammation
- Tau accumulation
In fact, Tau accumulation is so prevalent in CTE, that they diagnose CTE post-mortem via blood analysis showing a surplus of Tau
It is no coincidence that a TBI(concussion) triggers all of the events mentioned above. In fact, CTE is 8% more prevalent in someone that has sustained a TBI than those without (22% risk vs 14% risk)
So now we understand the biological processes that occur with a concussion as well as CTE/Alzheimer’s
It is important to note that although there is a very strong correlation between concussions and CTE, there is not yet enough data to show definitive causation
Now that CTE and concussion correlation has been explained, make sure to check out this concussion recovery protocol here to heal a concussion quickly.