Expert explains the effects of CTE
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The parents of the gunman who opened fire inside a Louisville bank told WAVE their son is being tested for a degenerative brain disease called CTE, or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.
Data suggests CTE is caused by multiple soft blows to the brain. Those hits most commonly occur in sports such as football and boxing, but can can also happen in car accidents.
Symptoms of CTE can include cognitive impairment, such as difficulty planning or remembering tasks, changes in mood, such as depression or suicidal thoughts and behavioral changes such as impulsiveness or aggression.
“The sort of short circuiting of the brain can present as depression, confusion, memory loss, but it could lead to a situation where you are unable to process a scenario,” Baptist Health Floyd Neurosurgeon Dr. Brian Snyder said. “And that inability to process and that inability to process the scenario leads to a lashing out.”
Dr. Snyder said data has not found a direct link between CTE and violent behavior.
Snyder added doctors have only been able to study this disease in people that are deceased because a piece of brain is needed to make a diagnosis.
It is not yet clear why some people are impacted by repetitive head trauma more than others.
“A lot of times it’s a much more low level repetitive process,” Snyder said.
Dr. Snyder said the blows that cause CTE don’t have to be so hard they knock you unconscious.
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