Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

What is CTE?

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by recurrent mild traumatic brain injuries (TBI), which are commonly a result of sports injuries.  Given the popularity of contact sports, research on the prevalence and development of CTE has grown in recent years. One study examining the brains of professional football players post-mortem has confirmed a high rate of CTE in this group (1).  While there are a number of risk factors related to the development of CTE, it is clear that repeated head injury is a primary cause. Therefore, there is a growing urgency for proper treatment of post-concussion syndrome in general that will address symptoms as well as prevent future head injury.  Additionally, our understanding of the psychological disturbances related to CTE is growing and multiple treatment options for these behavioral health symptoms are available.


Because traumatic brain injuries can occur in different parts of the brain, the brain patterns associated with it can take many forms. Research shows that quite often there is reduced amplitude of the alpha and beta frequency bands (Thatcher, 2011). Alpha waves are associated with relaxation and beta waves are associated with focused attention. Changes in brain frequencies are directly responsible for many of the symptoms of traumatic brain injuries. Another facet that is a common EEG indicator of traumatic brain injury is problems in the communication between different areas of the brain. In general, the more severe the brain injury, the more deviant the EEG measures (Thatcher et al., 1998).


Neurofeedback targets underlying brain patterns that lead to the symptoms experienced because of your traumatic brain injury. Studies show clients experience improvements in learning and memory deficits (Reddy et al., 2009), attention and response accuracy (Tinius and Tinius, 2000), as well as overall quality of life (Reddy et al., 2009; Walker et al., 2002). A great benefit of Neurofeedback is that it tackles a wide variety of symptoms and leads to an overall improvement of life quality.

Step 1:  Quantitative Electroencephalogram.

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Step 2:  Photobiomodulation

TBI & stroke 

  1. Neurofeedback and traumatic brain injury: a literature review
    May, G., MD, Benson, R., MD, Balon, R., MD, & Boutros, N., MD. (november 2013). Neurofeedback and traumatic brain injury: A literature review. Annals of Clinical Psychiatry,289-296.
  2. Neurofeedback for Traumatic Brain Injury: Current Trends
    Thomas, J. L., & Smith, M. L. (2015). Neurofeedback for Traumatic Brain Injury: Current Trends. Biofeedback,43(1), 31-37.
  3. EEG Neurofeedback therapy: Can it attenuate brain changes in TBI?
    Munivenkatappa, A., et al. (2014). EEG Neurofeedback therapy: Can it attenuate brain changes in TBI? NeuroRehabilitiation. 481-4.
  4. LORETA Z-score Neurofeedback-Effectiveness in Rehabilitation of Patients Suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury
    Koberda, J.L. (2015). LORETA Z-score Neurofeedback-Effectiveness in Rehabilitation of Patients Suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury. Journal of Neurology and Neurobiology.
  5. Majid, F. (2018). A comprehensive “Concussion Recovery Program” with emphasis on brain coaching and EEG-based neurofeedback therapy: A retrospective analysis. Neurology, 91(23). doi:10.1212/01.wnl.0000550606.03730.0c  
  6. Mez, J., Daneshvar, D.H., Kiernan, P.T., et al. (2017). Clinicopathological evaluation of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in players of american football. JAMA318(4), 360–370. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.8334  
  7. Perez, A. (2017, October 03). Clinic provides hope for athletes with brain injuries: ‘This is going to be huge’. Retrieved from  
  8. Person. (2013, August 29). NFL, ex-players agree to $765M settlement in concussions suit. Retrieved from
  9. Speer, J. (2019, March 21). Superbowl Brain: How Ex-NFL Athletes Are Improving Their Post Concussive Symptoms with Neurofeedback Therapy. Retrieved from

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