‘Punch drunk syndrome’: an introduction to CTE, clinical relevance and pathology

Written by Sharon Salt (Editor)

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), formerly known as dementia pugilistica or ‘punch drunk syndrome’, is described as a progressive neurodegenerative disease in people with a history of repetitive mild traumatic brain injury. The symptoms of CTE are extremely similar to those seen in other forms of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease (e.g., cognitive impairment, memory loss, Parkinsonism, increasing confusion and disorientation, and slurred speech). As these clinical symptoms are shared with other neurodegenerative diseases, there’s currently no available test to diagnose the condition. At present, the most reliable way of confirming diagnosis of CTE is by examining post mortem brain tissue for certain changes.
To find out more, we spoke with Marc Goldfinger, a PhD student at Imperial College London (UK) about the disease. In this video, Marc provides us with a description of CTE, as well as a pathological demonstration illustrating the changes observed in post mortem brain tissues of individuals with CTE. He also talks us through his work with boxer’s brains, which focuses on a particular collection called the ‘Corsellis collection’.

Click here to view Part 2 of the video.


00:10 – What is CTE?

02:36 – Why is CTE of increasing public interest?

03:58 – Pathological demonstration of CTE (macroscopic changes in the brain)

05:48 – Microscopic changes in the brain

07:38 – Can you talk us through your work with boxer’s brains?

09:39 – More about the Corsellis collection

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