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01-09-2013, 12:55 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: North of the Tank
New study published on JAMA Neurology looks at the cognitive "health" of 34 former NFL players
To assess cognitive impairment and depression in aging former professional football (National Football League [NFL]) players and to identify neuroimaging correlates of these dysfunctions.
We compared former NFL players with cognitive impairment and depression, cognitively normal retired players who were not depressed, and matched healthy control subjects.
Of the 34 former NFL players, 20 were cognitively normal. Four were diagnosed as having a fixed cognitive deficit; 8, mild cognitive impairment; 2, dementia; and 8, depression. Of the subgroup in whom neuroimaging data were acquired, cognitively impaired participants showed the greatest deficits on tests of naming, word finding, and visual/verbal episodic memory. We found significant differences in white matter abnormalities in cognitively impaired and depressed retired players compared with their respective controls. Regional blood flow differences in the cognitively impaired group (left temporal pole, inferior parietal lobule, and superior temporal gyrus) corresponded to regions associated with impaired neurocognitive performance (problems with memory, naming, and word finding).
Cognitive deficits and depression appear to be more common in aging former NFL players compared with healthy controls. These deficits are correlated with white matter abnormalities and changes in regional cerebral blood flow.
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