Does amateur boxing cause brain damage?

May 02, 2007

Blows to the head in amateur boxing appear to cause brain damage, according to research that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 59th Annual Meeting in Boston, April 28 – May 5, 2007.

"Despite the high prevalence of brain damage as a result of professional boxing, until now there has been little information on the possible risks for brain injury in amateur boxing," said study author Max Hietala, MD, PhD, with Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Goteborg, Sweden.

For the study, researchers used lumbar puncture to determine if there were elevated levels of biochemical markers for brain injury in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of 14 amateur boxers. Boxers were tested after a fight and then again three months after rest from boxing. The study also included 10 healthy men who were not athletes.

The study found high CSF levels of neuronal and glial markers suggestive of brain damage after a fight. A particular marker for neuronal damage, neurofilament light (NFL), was four times higher in boxers within 10 days of the fight as compared with healthy non-athletes. These increased levels returned to normal after three months rest from boxing.

In addition, the increased levels after a fight were significantly higher among amateur boxers who had received more than 15 high impact hits to the head compared with boxers who reported fewer hits. The boxers who had received more than 15 high impact hits to the head had seven to eight times higher NFL-levels post fight compared to their levels following a three-months rest.

"Repeated hits to the head are potentially damaging to the central nervous system, and our results suggest CSF-analysis could be used for medical counseling of athletes after boxing or head injury," said Hietala.

The study was extended to soccer players heading the ball repeatedly from long and high goal kicks. No increased levels of biochemical markers for brain damage in cerebrospinal fluid were found. "This data shows headings in soccer is not associated with any neurochemical evidence of brain damage," said Hietala.

Source: American Academy of Neurology

Explore further: RI Hospital physician: Legalizing medical marijuana doesn't increase use among adolescents

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Blood test can detect brain damage in amateur boxers

Aug 20, 2009

A blood test can now be used to detect brain damage in amateur boxers. Deterioration of nerve cells seems to occur even after a two-month break from boxing. This is shown in a new study from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the ...

Recommended for you

Rising role seen for health education specialists

59 minutes ago

(HealthDay)—A health education specialist can help family practices implement quality improvement projects with limited additional financial resources, according to an article published in the March/April ...

FDA proposes first regulations for e-cigarettes

1 hour ago

The federal government wants to prohibit sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and require approval for new products and health warning labels under regulations being proposed by the Food and Drug Administration.

Vermont moves toward labeling of GMO foods

1 hour ago

Vermont lawmakers have passed the country's first state bill to require the labeling of genetically modified foods as such, setting up a war between the behemoth U.S. food industry and an American public that overwhelmingly ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Rising role seen for health education specialists

(HealthDay)—A health education specialist can help family practices implement quality improvement projects with limited additional financial resources, according to an article published in the March/April ...

FDA proposes first regulations for e-cigarettes

The federal government wants to prohibit sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and require approval for new products and health warning labels under regulations being proposed by the Food and Drug Administration.

When things get glassy, molecules go fractal

Colorful church windows, beads on a necklace and many of our favorite plastics share something in common—they all belong to a state of matter known as glasses. School children learn the difference between ...

FCC to propose pay-for-priority Internet standards

The Federal Communications Commission is set to propose new open Internet rules that would allow content companies to pay for faster delivery over the so-called "last mile" connection to people's homes.

SK Hynix posts Q1 surge in net profit

South Korea's SK Hynix Inc said Thursday its first-quarter net profit surged nearly 350 percent from the previous year on a spike in sales of PC memory chips.

Brazil enacts Internet 'Bill of Rights'

Brazil's president signed into law on Wednesday a "Bill of Rights" for the digital age that aims to protect online privacy and promote the Internet as a public utility by barring telecommunications companies ...