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CTE found in domestic violence victims

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CTE has been found in two Australian women who faced partner violence for decades, in an Australian first.
CTE found in two Australian women who faced partner violence

CW: Distressing content

A disease usually found in former athletes who have had repeated concussions has been diagnosed in domestic violence victims.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a neurodegenerative disease linked to repeated brain injuries. It is incurable and can only be diagnosed once a person is dead.

In an Australian first, a group of pathologists identified CTE in two women who endured decades of intimate partner violence.

CTE found in two Australian women

The brains of two women were studied after their deaths. Research published in an academic journal shows they had both developed low levels of CTE.

Both women had sustained repeated head injuries. This experience is in line with the handful of global CTE diagnoses associated with intimate partner violence.

The first, a woman in her forties, was subject to intimate partner violence for over 20 years. She was treated on more than 30 occasions for assault-related injuries, including at least 15 head injuries.

Pathologists found a second woman, in her thirties, may have developed a cognitive impairment due to her injuries.

She had been abused for 17 years, recorded over 20 head injuries, and died after being struck by a motor vehicle.

Researchers raised concern about the cognitive and behavioural impacts on domestic violence victim-survivors, who may unknowingly develop CTE as a result of their injuries.

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