Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How Dangerous Is Boxing For The Brain?

Date:
March 29, 2008
Source:
University Hospital Heidelberg
Summary:
Boxing is possibly less dangerous for the brain than previously feared -- at least for amateurs. However, conclusive statements on the level of danger are not yet possible. Whether professional boxers such as Muhammad Ali contracted their later brain conditions -- in his case Parkinson's disease at the age of 40 -- from boxing, remains unclear. The all-clear cannot be given until more extensive studies of both amateur and professional boxers tell us more about the risks for the brain from boxing.

Boxing is possibly less dangerous for the brain than previously feared -- at least for amateurs.
Credit: iStockphoto/Mark Kolbe

Boxing is possibly less dangerous for the brain than previously feared – at least for amateurs. However, conclusive statements on the level of danger are not yet possible. Whether professional boxers such as Muhammad Ali contracted their later brain conditions – in his case Parkinson’s disease at the age of 40 –  from boxing, remains unclear. The all-clear cannot be given until more extensive studies of both amateur and professional boxers tell us more about the risks for the brain from boxing.

This was the conclusion reached in the “Heidelberg Boxing Study”, in which high-resolution MRI data were used to search for tiny changes in the brains of amateur boxers and a comparison group of non-boxers. These changes are most likely precursors for later severe brain damage such as Parkinson’s disease or dementia. 

The study by the Department of Neurology, University of Heidelberg Medical Center has now been published in the American Journal of Neuroradiology. In three of the 42 boxers, microhemorrhages were found, while in the comparison group of 37 non-boxers there were no such changes; however the difference was not statistically significant. The study was carried out jointly with National Training Center for Boxing in Heidelberg and the Department of Sport Medicine at the University of Heidelberg Medical Center (Medical Director: Professor Dr. Peter Bärtsch).

Microhemorrhages could be precursors to Parkinson’s disease and dementia 

In boxing, the head is hit at a high speed and with great force. This can lead to shear movement between different brain tissues, resulting in microhemorrhages. “Injuries of this kind can be detected with the help of a modern MR imaging device with a field strength of 3 Tesla such as is available in Heidelberg,” explained Professor Dr. Stefan Hähnel, chief consultant at the Division of Neuroradiology, Department of Neurology, University of Heidelberg Medical Center, who conducted the study with Professor Dr. Uta Meyding-Lamadé, then chief consultant at the Department of Neurology, University of Heidelberg Medical Center, now Medical Director at Krankenhaus Nordwest in Frankfurt.

It is not known how often the microhemorrhages occur in boxers. They may eventually lead to the destruction of brain cells and deficits such as dementia and Parkinson’s disease. This hypothesis is shared by some working groups. The three boxers in whom changes were found typically had the changes in the frontal or temporal lobes, where the shear forces of blows are strongest.    

A follow-up study will compare amateur boxers with professionals

One disadvantage of the “Heidelberg Boxing Study” was the great range in duration and intensity of amateur boxing. Duration ranged from one to 25 years and intensity from one to 375 bouts with 0 to 12 knockouts.  A follow-up study is planned to include professional boxers, in order to assess intensive exposure to blows. The Heidelberg researchers are currently looking for funding for this study.  

Journal Reference: Hähnel S, Stippich C, Weber I, Darm H, Schill T, Jost J, Friedmann B, Heiland S, Blatow M, Meyding-Lamadé U: Prevalence of Cerebral Microhemorrhages in Amateur Boxers as detected by 3-Tesla Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Am J Neuroradiol 29 (2): 388-391  (2008) 


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Hospital Heidelberg. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Hospital Heidelberg. "How Dangerous Is Boxing For The Brain?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080328114523.htm>.
University Hospital Heidelberg. (2008, March 29). How Dangerous Is Boxing For The Brain?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 15, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080328114523.htm
University Hospital Heidelberg. "How Dangerous Is Boxing For The Brain?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080328114523.htm (accessed September 15, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

AFP (Sep. 15, 2014) — The European Commission met on Monday to coordinate aid that the EU can offer to African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. Duration: 00:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) — A new study finds children are prescribed antibiotics twice as often as is necessary. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) — The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — The respiratory virus Enterovirus D68, which targets children, has spread from the Midwest to 21 states. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins