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Amateur boxing linked to brain cell injury

generation and damage, and the increase is known to correlate with the size of the brain lesion," the authors write. "When applied to the results of this study, the increases in neurofilament protein and total tau probably reflect damage to neuronal axons from hits to the head during a bout." They also had elevated levels of glial fibrillary acidic protein, which indicates damage to the astroglia, specialized cells that surround neurons to insulate and support them. An increase in this chemical was also recently found in patients who experienced severe brain injury, and the levels were linked to the patient's clinical outcome. Levels of all three chemicals were significantly higher in the seven boxers who had sustained more than 15 hits to the head or experienced grogginess during or after a bout, compared with those who had 15 or fewer hits to the head and no grogginess.

Compared with the non-boxers, immediately after a bout the boxers had higher levels of neurofilament light protein and glial fibrillary acidic protein. Three months later, the boxers still had higher levels of neurofilament light protein than the control subjects.

"Amateur boxing is associated with acute neuronal and astroglial injury," the authors conclude. "If verified in longitudinal studies with extensive follow-up regarding the clinical outcome, analyses of cerebrospinal fluid may provide a scientific basis for medical counseling of athletes after boxing or head injury."


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Source:JAMA and Archives Journals


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