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:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... In an article ... variables that determine which patients are or are not eligible for bariatric surgery. The ... BMI over 40, are more than 100 pounds overweight, or have a BMI of ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 24, 2015 , ... It takes only three to five seconds to make ... the first impression be positive and reflects business values. If a client starts with ... want to return. They will also share their thoughts about a business with others, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 24, 2015 , ... Cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, family members ... live taping of the next CURE Connections® video series on Saturday, ... Symposium at Georgetown University Hotel & Conference Center in Washington, D.C. , CURE ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Aided by seed funding from the ... study designed to yield insights into how to detect and treat pancreatic cancer (PC). ... cancer from small, non-coding RNA molecules (ncRNA), genetic material that is present in the ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Sir Grout of Baltimore is proud to ... award recognizes good companies for excellence in service and a commitment to the ... surface restoration company earned this recognition after a thorough review by the acclaimed ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... Connecticut , November 24, 2015 ... of Acadiana has entered into a multi-year agreement ... imaging centers. This investment will provide the Breast Center ... --> Sectra (STO: SECT B) announces that ... agreement to deploy Breast Imaging PACS in its ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015  Ascendant Solutions, Inc. (Pink Sheets: ... its Board of Directors has declared a special 1 percent ... dividend is payable December 14, 2015, to shareholders of record ... form of additional shares of common stock. ... Board is a strong endorsement of our confidence in Ascendant,s ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... -- iRhythm Technologies, Inc. , a leading digital health care ... will participate in the 27th Annual Piper Jaffray Healthcare Conference at ... . Kevin King , Chief Executive Officer of ... 8:50am ET. --> --> ... . --> iRhythm is a privately held ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: