Searching for Female CTE?


There is nothing to be found on the internet about CTE in women. Is CTE is very rare in women or are women's brains very rarely examined for CTE? 

I wanted to find out and I thought Dr. Bennet Omalu was the best person to interview on female brains and CTE. And in February 2015, I had the chance to ask Dr. Bennet Omalu in person if he had ever seen a case of CTE in a female's brain. I was at Santa Clara Brain Injury Conference presenting on the PINKconcussions female concussion research study, and he was presenting "Emerging In-Vivo Diagnosis of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)" on his efforts and reasons behind his naming of term "CTE." 

Meeting Dr. Bennet Omalu at Santa Clara Brain Injury Conference, Feb, 2015

Meeting Dr. Bennet Omalu at Santa Clara Brain Injury Conference, Feb, 2015

When I asked, Dr. Omalu told me he had not himself seen an example of CTE in a woman's brain as very few female brains have even been examined; but he had read a paper about one case of CTE in a female.

Finding this one paper became my quest for the Holy Grail, but despite my best efforts and asking a number of knowledgeable people, I was unable to find any such paper. Even my regular scientific sleuths were unable to find any reference of female CTE in their queries. 

With the National Summit on Female Concussions and other TBIs only four months away, I was running out of time and decided if anyone would know of this paper, it would be Dr. Ann McKee of BU CTE. So I made it my mission to ask Dr. McKee who I knew would be at the Concussion Legacy Foundation Gala on November 4, 2015. Luckily for me, there was an empty seat at her table, and I was able to ask her if she knew of the paper Dr. Omalu had read. 

Dr. McKee replied, "there is not just one paper, but there are two papers on female CTE," and she would send both to me. And she did send me the two papers for which I am most grateful.

One paper she sent was by Dr. Patrick Hof on "Lucy," a 24 year old Autistic woman and the other paper by Dr. G. W. Roberts on "Wilma," a 76 year old woman who was the victim of domestic violence.

I was able to track down and interview Dr. Hof. Here are my post on my interview with Prof. Hof on Lucy. But since I have not yet been able to locate Dr. Roberts, here are just my thoughts on Dr. Roberts' paper on Wilma. I hope to find Dr. Roberts to learn more about Wilma. 

LINKS: Lucy, Wilma

Coming soon: Our census on female brains and potential female donors in US Brain Banks