Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

CTE is a progressive, degenerative brain disease for which there is no treatment. More research on treatments is needed, but the current approach is to prevent head injury. It's also important to stay informed about the latest recommendations for detecting and managing traumatic brain injury.

If you had a concussion recently, you will not have developed CTE. However, you should take care of yourself until you have fully recovered in order to prevent additional injury. If your symptoms return at any point:

  • Cut back on activities
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Reduce physical activity if it increases your symptoms
  • Avoid too much computer time if this increases your symptoms
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Return to activities gradually, with guidance from your doctor
  • Avoid drinking alcohol and take only prescribed medication
  • Write things down or limit tasks, as needed
  • Ease back into work
  • Consult others before making major decisions

It is especially important to avoid a second concussion before the first one heals (second impact syndrome). A second concussion can result in permanent brain damage or death.

If you are caring for someone who has symptoms of CTE, he or she may benefit from supportive care similar to that of people with dementia.

  • Calming environment. Reducing clutter and distracting noise can make it easier for someone with dementia to focus and function. It may also reduce confusion and frustration.
  • Reassuring responses. A caregiver's response can worsen behaviors such as agitation. Avoid correcting and quizzing a person with dementia. Offer reassurance and validate his or her concerns.
  • Modified tasks. Break tasks into easier steps and focus on success, not failure. Create structure and routine during the day to reduce confusion.
  • Regular exercise. A daily 30-minute walk can improve mood and maintain the health of joints and muscles, including the heart. Exercise can also promote restful sleep, prevent constipation, lessen symptoms of depression, help retain motor skills and create a calming effect. Try a stationary bike or chair exercises if walking is difficult.
  • Games and thinking activities. Encourage games, crossword puzzles and other activities that use thinking (cognitive) skills to help slow mental decline.
  • Nighttime rituals. Behavior is often worse at night. Establish calming bedtime rituals that are separate from the noise of television, meal cleanup and active family members. Leave night lights on to prevent disorientation.
April 20, 2016