Ann McKee is the woman at the forefront of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) research. She is a professor of neurology and pathology at the Boston University School of Medicine and director of Boston University’s CTE Center.
CTE is a degenerative brain disease found in athletes who have endured repetitive head trauma. Because of the NFL concussion lawsuit, CTE is most often associated with football players, but the disease also affects soccer, hockey, rugby and baseball players.
McKee’s research on CTE is funded by several organizations including the US Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, and the National Football League.
McKee recently discussed her work on CTE in an interview with Boston University. “I looked at the slide and it was like ‘Oh my God! This is so amazing. I’ve never seen anything like this’” she recalls on the first time she saw CTE. In McKee’s examination of professional boxer Peter Pender’s brain in 2003, she discovered tangles of protein clustered around blood vessels called tau, the first indicator of CTE.
McKee also discusses the 240 brains in the CTE Center’s bank, brain injury in kids’ sports, and what shocks her most about CTE. Read the full interview on BU’s Research.