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Analysis of Brain Diagnoses and the Incidence of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)

by Arjun Lakhanpal

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) has become a significant area of scientific inquiry in relation to various sports with contact exposure, specifically boxing and professional football, resulting from many individuals who participated in these sports being diagnosed with CTE neuropathology after death. This paper contributes to the CTE literature by analyzing the various predictors of the progression of neurodegenerative disorders, including CTE, that are associated with a history of head impact exposure. In addition, it analyzes how manner of death shifts depending on an individual’s clinical brain diagnosis, which is a decision based upon the clinical record and case review of a patient.
Through data from the NIH NeuroBioBank, the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank, and data self-collected from living individuals with symptoms associated with CTE, this paper explores an analysis of various brain diagnoses through a large control population and small subset of athletes and veterans. Logistic regression models are established to analyze explanatory variables of clinical brain diagnosis, manner of death, and CTE presence and severity.
These logistic regression models confirm previous research surrounding the potential racial influence present in Black populations with schizophrenia related diagnoses and illustrate the degree to which neurodegenerative disorders, specifically Parkinson’s Disease, are influenced by increased age. Specific to CTE, the analysis conducted through the sample population illustrates the influence of an extra year of football played at the professional level, while counteracting existing literature regarding the association between position and CTE.

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Advisors: Professor Jason Luck, Professor Michelle Connolly | JEL Codes: I10, Z20, J15


Undergraduate Program Assistant
Matthew Eggleston

Director of the Honors Program
Michelle P. Connolly