By On January 8th, 2013

Former NFL Players Show Increased Cognitive Impairment

As we enjoy the football games of the playoff season, the conversation about the dangerous nature of concussions continues.  A recent study was published that looks at the association between concussions, cognitive impairment and depression.

A group of retired National Football League players were found to have more cognitive difficulties and depression compared to a healthy control group.  A group of 34 former players with an average age of 62 were studied by John Hart, Jr., MD, and colleagues of the University of Texas at Dallas.  The participants in the study had experienced an average of four concussions over  the course of their football careers.  Most of those involved in the study had neuroimaging done that revealed abnormal volumes of white matter lesions in the brain.  This white matter as well as blood flow abnormalities in parts of the brain associated with naming, word finding and verbal ability indicates impairment.  Higher rates of depression were reported in the group at 24%, compared to the usual depression rate of 15% for men in this age range.  The researchers call for more screening for depression to be done with aging athletes.

For further reading on the study, click here.

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