MRI Brain Lesions in White Matter Are Linked to Years of Football Playing

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On MRI, white matter brain lesions are linked to the number of years spent playing football.

White matter brain lesions are linked to the number of years played football on MRI.

On brain scans, white matter hyperintensities, which are signs of injury to the white matter of the brain, can be seen.

When compared to changes in their brains at autopsy, white matter hyperintensities were linked to neuropathological changes in athletes who participated in contact sports throughout their lives.

On November 24, 2021, the study was published online in Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

According to the study, athletes who played contact sports for longer periods of time or had more head impacts during their careers had more white matter hyperintensities.

White matter hyperintensities appear bright on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.

They become more common as people get older, and those with medical issues like high blood pressure are more likely to have them.

“Our findings are intriguing because they suggest that white matter hyperintensities may capture long-term brain damage in people who have had repeated head impacts,” said Boston University School of Medicine researcher Michael Alosco, PhD.

“While the athlete is still alive, white matter hyperintensities on MRI may be an effective tool for studying the effects of recurrent head impacts on the white matter of the brain,” says the study’s lead author.

Among them were 67 football players, eight other athletes who competed in contact sports like soccer and boxing, and eight military veterans.

There were 16 professional football players and 11 semi-professional football players among the football players, each of whom had an average of 12 years of experience.

They all donated their brains to research after they died, to help researchers better understand the long-term effects of repeated head impacts.

The scientists then examined the athletes’ medical records, including scans taken while they were still alive.

Participants, who were on average 62 years old, had their brains scanned.

When the athletes died, they were on average 67 years old.

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This was determined after a discussion with their family.

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Repeated head injuries, such as those sustained in football, are linked to CTE, a neurological disease that can lead to dementia.

For every unit change in white matter in brain scans, researchers discovered that…

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