Navigation Links
Study of Retired NFL Players Finds Evidence of Brain Damage

By Maureen Salamon
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, June 29 (HealthDay News) -- Tests performed on a group of retired NFL players revealed that more than 40 percent suffered from problems such as depression and dementia, adding to a growing pile of evidence that repeated sports-related head traumas can lead to lasting neurological issues.

Analyzing 34 ex-professional football players (average age 62) on benchmarks such as memory, reasoning, problem-solving and behavior, researchers from the Center for Brain Health at the University of Texas at Dallas found that 20 tested normal while the rest suffered from depression, various deficits in memory/thinking or a combination of these issues. Twenty-six of the players also underwent MRI scans.

"We picked up that many guys were depressed but didn't know it," added study author Dr. John Hart, medical science director at the center. "The cognitive impairments . . . were more than what's expected for their ages. A lot had damage to their brain's white matter, so for us it's a real clue or marker to look for."

Hart is scheduled to present the findings Friday at the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) annual meeting in St. Louis. Research presented at scientific meetings should be considered preliminary until it is published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

An estimated 300,000 sports-related concussions occur in the United States each year, and mounting attention is being paid to the neurological toll of those injuries on former professional athletes. In June, a massive bundle of lawsuits representing more than 2,100 National Football League players was filed against the league, claiming that the NFL hid information linking football-related head injuries to permanent brain damage.

Hart's study involved ex-NFL athletes hailing from the North Texas region. For comparison purposes, the researchers also looked at the brains of 26 people with no signs of mental deficits, selected from the general population and matched for age, education and IQ.

Of the eight former players who were found to have depression -- the finding that most surprised Hart -- most didn't exhibit the mood issues such as sadness that are typically associated with the condition, he said.

Instead, "there was a lack of energy, initiative or sex drive and disrupted sleep, with weight gain or loss," Hart said. "They would ruminate or get anxious about stuff, but they weren't crying. They were shocked or surprised [at the finding], because they didn't think they had symptoms at all."

The results highlight the need to actively inquire about depressive symptoms among those who have suffered concussions, Hart said. Additionally, it's important to "let the brain rest and heal" following concussions instead of charging back onto the field -- which opens players to a phenomenon known as "second-impact syndrome." The brain can swell catastrophically when a second concussion occurs before symptoms of the first have abated.

Promoting a healthier approach to concussion recovery will take the cooperation of players, coaches, parents and even teachers at the high school or college level, who need to understand that even the mental exertion required in the classroom can be detrimental to getting better, added Paul J. Krawietz, director of the athletic training education program in the department of kinesiology at the University of Texas at Arlington.

"The testing and note-taking can exacerbate symptoms or make them worse if a student comes back too soon," Krawietz said. "People know symptoms can be made worse by physical exertion, but often they don't think about the cognitive component, that thinking can make things worse."

More information

Find out more about sports-related concussions at the University of Pittsburgh.

SOURCES: John Hart, M.D., medical science director, Center for Brain Health, University of Texas at Dallas; Paul J. Krawietz, Ed.D., director, athletic training education program, department of kinesiology, University of Texas at Arlington; June 29, 2012, presentation, 2012 National Athletic Trainers' Association annual meeting, St. Louis

Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Virtual Colonoscopy Safe, Effective for Medicare Patients: Study
2. Study examines role of seasonal prescribing changes in antibiotic resistance
3. Study answers Medicare concerns about paying for CT colonography
4. Toddlers Are Happier to Give Than Receive: Study
5. New study finds low rates of biopsy contribute to celiac disease underdiagnosis in US
6. Hot Flashes Dont Signal Poor Heart Health for Most Women: Study
7. Study finds new gene mutations that lead to enlarged brain size, cancer, autism, epilepsy
8. Gay or Straight, Parents Too Tired for Sex, Study Suggests
9. Minorities Less Likely to Use Hospice Care: Study
10. Residents as Good as Fully Trained Docs if Properly Supervised: Study
11. Study calls for drug trial patients to receive more information about effects of placebos
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Study of Retired NFL Players Finds Evidence of Brain Damage
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... ... recently awarded their highest five-star rating to Best Buy Eyeglasses, an ... United States and Canada wear eyeglasses. Once considered to be a purely functional part ... fashion statement. Even celebrities use glasses as a way of creating an iconic image—like ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... Battle Creek, Michigan (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 , ... ... abuse, joined as sponsor of the 2016 Cereal Festival and World’s Longest Breakfast Table ... held in honor of the city’s history as home to some of the world’s ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... 2016 , ... PawPaws brand pet supplements owned by Whole Health ... the health of felines. The formula is all-natural and is made from Chinese herbs ... Cat Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews are Astragalus Root Extract and Rehmannia ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... , ... June 26, 2016 , ... ... once they have been diagnosed with endometriosis. These women need a treatment plan ... require a comprehensive approach that can help for preservation of fertility and ultimately ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... Austin residents seeking Mohs surgery services, can now turn ... to Dr. Russell Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. , Dr. Dorsey brings specialization ... selective fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. Dorsey was under the direction ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Research ... Devices Global Market - Forecast to 2022" report to ... the treatment method for the patients with kidney failure, it ... excess fluid from the patient,s blood and thus the treatment ... potassium and chloride in balance. Increasing number ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016  In a startling report released today, ... residents by lacking a comprehensive, proven plan to eliminate prescription opioid ... ranking of how states are tackling the worst drug crisis in ... states – Kentucky , New Mexico ... . Of the 28 failing states, three – ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 ... CAPR ), a biotechnology company focused on the ... announced that patient enrollment in its ongoing randomized ... has exceeded 50% of its 24-patient target. Capricor ... the third quarter of 2016, and to report ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: