did Aaron Hernandez have CTE?

Aaron Hernandez, the former NFL star who took his life while serving a murder sentence in prison, had chronic traumatic encephalopathy -- commonly known as CTE -- according to attorney Jose Baez.

Baez cited study results compiled by the Boston University CTE Center, which examined Hernandez's brain for the neurodegenerative brain disease.

According to a statement from BU, Hernandez's brain was examined by Dr. Ann McKee, director of the CTE Center. The neurodegenerative brain disease has Alzheimer's-like symptoms, including memory loss, confusion, aggression, rage and, at times, suicidal behavior. It is believed to result from repeated trauma to the head, which results in a buildup of the abnormal protein tau that clumps in the brain.

The disease is categorized in four degrees, with Stage 4 being the most severe. According to McKee's analysis, Hernandez was found to have Stage 3 CTE, which is commonly associated with cognitive and memory loss, as well as behavioral changes and impaired judgment. Hernandez was found to have early degeneration of brain cells and large tears in the septum pellucidum, a central membrane of the brain. Read the full report at CNN.com.

Hernandez, who was convicted of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Odin Lloyd, was sentenced to life without parole. He was also separately accused in the killings of Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado in 2012.

Learn more about chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) at MayoClinic.org and MedicineNet.com.

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