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CTE Severity Links

Researchers have linked a variant in the TMEM106B gene to more severe symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, CBS News reports.

It adds that CTE arises due to repeated head trauma and has been found among football players — a study published last year uncovered CTE in nearly all 202 former payers studied — and military personnel. Its symptoms include memory loss, confusion, aggression, and dementia. The Boston Globe adds that former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez, who later committed suicide while in prison for murder, was found to have a severe case of the disease.

As variants in TMEM106B have been linked triaging-related neuroinflammation and neurodegenerative disease, researchers from Boston University sought to determine if it has a role in CTE. As they report in Acta Neuropathologica Communications this week, they genotyped 86 men diagnosed post-mortem with CTE who had played football to find that though variants in TMEM106B were not linked to whether someone developed CTE, but among those with CTE, they were associated with differences in severity.

"Maybe down the road when we have additional studies with more individuals, this is a thing you would use as indicating your risk," senior author Thor Stein from the VA Boston Healthcare System tells the Globe. "This, in addition to many other genes, might say what your risk is for developing severe disease if you are exposed to a lot of repetitive injury."