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To read our frequently asked questions about chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), click here. Please see our family and brain donation FAQs below.
Can I be evaluated at the BU CTE Center?
The BU CTE Center is a research group. At this point in time we do not offer continuing clinical care. The best first step, if you are seeking clinical evaluation, is to speak to your primary care physician. For more information on physicians in your area who work with those suffering from brain trauma, please use the Concussion Clinics search tool. Many of our clinical research studies include evaluations. However, these are not intended to replace routine or specialized medical care. Please review our actively recruiting studies and email email@example.com if you are interested in participating in our research.
Can you refer me to a doctor?
Unfortunately, we are a research center, and do not provide continuing medical care. We do not maintain a comprehensive list of doctors across the country who are familiar with brain injury and CTE. However our collaborators at the Concussion Legacy Foundation can assist if you reach out to their HelpLine. They have a staff dedicated to connecting individuals with medical and community resources specific to brain injury and CTE.
Can CTE be cured? What can I do if I think I have CTE?
Unfortunately, at this time there is no cure for CTE. However, the CTE Center is currently conducting ongoing clinical research aimed at discovering how CTE develops and progresses, risk factors for the development of the disease, and how to diagnose the disease during life. The symptoms of CTE, such as depression and anxiety, can be treated individually. If you believe you or a loved one may have CTE, please read through the Living with CTE page and talk with your physician. For more information on physicians in your area who work with those suffering from brain trauma, please use the Concussion Clinics search tool. Additionally, the Concussion Legacy Foundation hosts support groups for those with suspected CTE.
What resources are available to me?
Please visit our Resources page to learn more about the various resources available for those who may be struggling with CTE. We also have resources for those who wish to learn more about the disease.
What can I do to help/how can I become involved in research?
Thank you for your interest in helping with our research. If you would like to pledge to donate your brain, please sign up using this link. We encourage individuals, with and without head trauma, to sign up. Being a brain donor is similar to being an organ donor, and the procedure is done in such a way that the donor may have an open casket if desired. BU CTE Center personnel understand that this is a difficult time for the family of the donor, and they work hard to make the donation process as easy as possible for the family. For more information visit our FAQ on brain donation. If you would like to participate in clinical research, please review our recruiting studies and reach out to the appropriate study coordinator. If you would like to make a donation, including in memoriam, we are grateful for your generosity. Our research is funded through grants and generous gifts.
Do I have to be a high level amateur or professional athlete to participate in your research?
No. The CTE Center welcomes male and female athletes of all sports and levels to participate in our research. Although some studies are restricted to specific sports and levels, other studies are open to anyone with a history of participation in organized sports or military service.
Brain Donation FAQ
Why is brain tissue donation important?
The purpose of the research is to help understand the long-term effects of previous brain injuries, including any association with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) or other diseases of the nervous system. This donation process is an opportunity for individuals to help further research and help protect future generations. Participation will help researchers to better understand CTE, including its neuropathology, clinical presentation and course, and environmental and genetic risk factors.
Who can give consent for brain tissue donation?
The legally authorized representative (usually, the next of kin) may give consent to donate brain and spinal cord tissue following the death of a donor.
Who handles organizing the tissue donation?
A full-time brain donation coordinator is available 24/7, 365 days per year to arrange the tissue collecting by a local autopsy professional near the locality where the donor has died. All costs for the extraction are paid by the UNITE Brain Bank. The donation process is a time-sensitive matter; for urgent brain donation matters, please call the BU CTE Center 24/7 voice mail/pager at 617-992-0615.
Is there any cost associated with this study?
There are no costs for participating in this research study. The study will pay for all expenses involved with brain and spinal cord donation. Please note that funeral expenses remain the responsibility of the family.
What is the role of the next of kin in the donation process?
The next of kin is required to complete consent forms authorizing brain, spinal cord, CSF and/or blood donation. These will be faxed or emailed by the brain donation coordinator. Once completed, the donor’s next of kin is required to fax and/or email the signed consent forms back to the brain donation coordinator. One copy is retained by the UNITE Brain Bank, and another copy is faxed to the local autopsy professional.
What happens to the body?
The autopsy procedure does not interfere with the events associated with the funeral. No disfigurement occurs as a result of this procedure. The family can plan an open casket or other traditional funeral arrangements and the donation process will be undetectable. In addition, we will do our best not to interfere with any arrangements the family might have.
What is the role of family members after a donation has been made?
One important goal of the research is to better understand the clinical presentations of CTE. In order to do this, we try to gather as much relevant information about our donors during their life as possible. Family members help by completing study questionnaires and telephone interviews.
Can I participate in the Brain Donation Registry?
Yes, we encourage individuals, with and without head trauma, to sign up. When enrolling, you may also indicate whether you want to be informed about recruiting clinical studies. If you have questions about brain donation, please reach out to BU CTE Center Research Program Manager Madeline Uretsky (firstname.lastname@example.org). For questions regarding your Brain Donation Registry Card, please be advised that we are in the process of transitioning to digital brain donor cards. No new physical brain donor cards will be mailed out at this time. We look forward to introducing you to our new brain donor card experience in the coming months. Thank you for your patience and continued support of brain donation and clinical research. Please email email@example.com for more information.