With age, the presence of multiple neuropathologies in a single individual becomes increasingly common. Given that traumatic brain injury and the repetitive head impacts (RHIs) that occur in contact sports have been associated with the development of many neurodegenerative diseases, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), Alzheimer's disease, Lewy body disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, it is becoming critical to understand the relationship and interactions between these pathologies. In fact, comorbid pathology is common in CTE and likely influenced by both age and the severity and type of exposure to RHI as well as underlying genetic predisposition. Here, we review the major comorbid pathologies seen with CTE and in former contact sports athletes and discuss what is known about the associations between RHI, age, and the development of neuropathologies. In addition, we examine the distinction between CTE and age-related pathology including primary age-related tauopathy and age-related tau astrogliopathy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)384-393
Number of pages10
JournalSeminars in Neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2020


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • chronic traumatic encephalopathy
  • comorbidity
  • neurodegenerative disease
  • traumatic brain injury


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