Study finds brain lesions on MRI linked to years of playing football


Sure markers of damage to the brain’s white matter, known as white matter hyperintensities, may be seen on brain scans. A brand new research finds that brain scans taken throughout the lifetimes of athletes involved sports activities, in contrast to adjustments of their brains at post-mortem, confirmed that white matter hyperintensities had been related to neuropathological adjustments. The analysis is revealed within the November 24, 2021, on-line difficulty of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The research additionally discovered that white matter hyperintensities had been extra frequent in athletes who performed contact sports activities longer or had extra head impacts throughout their careers.

White matter hyperintensities are areas that seem vibrant on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. They’re frequent in individuals as they age and with medical conditions like high blood pressure.

“Our outcomes are thrilling as a result of they present that white matter hyperintensities would possibly seize long-term hurt to the brain in individuals who have a historical past of repetitive head impacts,” stated research creator Michael Alosco, Ph.D., of the Boston College Faculty of Drugs. “White matter hyperintensities on MRI might certainly be an efficient device to research the results of repetitive head impacts on the brain’s white matter whereas the athlete continues to be alive.”

The research concerned 75 individuals who had been uncovered to repetitive head impacts and had reported signs. This included 67 football gamers plus eight different athletes in contact sports like soccer and boxing, or navy veterans. Of the football gamers, every of whom performed a mean of 12 years, 16 athletes performed professionally and 11 performed semi-professionally.

All donated their brains to analysis after their dying so as to advance analysis into the long-term results of repetitive head impacts. Researchers then checked out medical information, together with scans which had been carried out whereas the athletes had been nonetheless alive. Individuals had scans taken of their brains, on common, at age 62. The typical age of the athletes at dying was 67.

Of the individuals, 64% had been judged to have had dementia prior to dying. This was decided by a dialogue with their family members. Autopsies confirmed that 53 individuals, or 71%, had continual traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a neurodegenerative illness related to repetitive head impacts, together with these from football, that may progress to dementia.

After inspecting the brain scans, researchers discovered that for each unit distinction in white matter hyperintensity quantity, there was about twice the percentages of having extra extreme small vessel illness and different indicators of white matter injury, in addition to 3 times the percentages of having extra extreme tau accumulation within the frontal lobe of the brain. Tau protein accumulation within the brain is a biomarker for progressive brain ailments like Alzheimer’s illness and CTE. Researchers additionally discovered that larger quantities of white matter hyperintensities had been related to extra years of playing football.

When it got here to finishing each day duties, larger quantities of white matter hyperintensities had been related to larger scores on a questionnaire about performing each day duties that was accomplished by caregivers of the brain donors.

“There are key limitations to the research, and we’d like extra analysis to decide the distinctive threat components and causes of these brain lesions in individuals with a historical past of repetitive head impacts,” Alosco stated.

Limitations of the research included the use of MRIs obtained for scientific, not analysis functions, and that individuals had been largely older, symptomatic, male, former American football players.


White matter changes in brain found in frontotemporal dementia


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Study finds brain lesions on MRI linked to years of playing football (2021, November 24)
retrieved 24 November 2021
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