NPR Interviews Dr. Williams: Everyday people fear they have CTE. A dubious market has sprung up to treat them

NPR Interviews Dr. Williams: Everyday people fear they have CTE. A dubious market has sprung up to treat them

Posted By Vernon B. Williams, MD || 5-Jan-2022

Cancer, Lee Brush concluded, would be preferable to this.

At least a brain tumor would be a definitive diagnosis with a potential cure, and his family and friends would understand what he was up against, he thought.

Instead, Brush struggled with unexplained headaches, light sensitivity, trouble focusing. He kept losing his keys, his phone, his train of thought — absent-minded "brain farts," he joked, while privately worrying that his memory lapses were a harbinger of something worse. At first, he blamed job stress and family pressures, but over time he began to wonder if his problems were more serious than that.

"Things that started to scare me were the ringing in the ears," said Brush, 47, who lives in Scottsdale, Ariz. "I call it 'electric Southern crickets.' Like, if you were to sit on the patio at night and hear all the crickets going, but imagine those electric. Well, I'd never had that before."

His work performance was slipping. He felt anxious, angry and depressed. Outwardly, life was good: Athletic and physically fit, Brush is a husband, father, homeowner and trained engineer, gainfully employed. But something was wrong, and no doctor could say why.

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