Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NFL players may be at higher risk of death from Alzheimer’s and ALS, research shows

Date:
September 5, 2012
Source:
American Academy of Neurology (AAN)
Summary:
New research shows that professional football players may be at a higher risk of death from diseases that damage the cells in the brain, such as Alzheimer’s disease and ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), compared to the general U.S. population.

New research shows that professional football players may be at a higher risk of death from diseases that damage the cells in the brain, such as Alzheimer's disease and ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease), compared to the general U.S. population. The study is published in the September 5, 2012, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The study included 3,439 players with an average age of 57 from the National Football League with at least five playing seasons from 1959-1988. Researchers reviewed death certificates for causes of death from Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and ALS. At the time of the analysis, only 10 percent of the participants had passed away.

The research found that professional football players in this study were three times more likely to die as a result of diseases that damage brain cells compared to the general population. A player's risk of death from Alzheimer's disease or ALS was almost four times higher than the general population. Of the 334 who died, seven had Alzheimer's disease and seven had ALS. The risk of dying from Parkinson's disease was not significantly different than that of the general population.

To determine if these risks differed by position played, researchers divided the players into two groups: those who played non-line ("speed") positions which included quarterbacks, running backs, halfbacks, fullbacks, wide receivers, tight ends, defensive backs, safeties and linebackers, and those who played line ("non-speed") positions, which included defensive and offensive linemen. Speed position players were more than three times more likely to die from a neurodegenerative cause than non-speed position players. A total of 62 percent of the players were in speed positions.

"These results are consistent with recent studies that suggest an increased risk of neurodegenerative disease among football players," said study author Everett J. Lehman, MS, with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in Cincinnati. "Although our study looked at causes of death from Alzheimer's disease and ALS as shown on death certificates, research now suggests that chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) may have been the true primary or secondary factor in some of these deaths. A brain autopsy is necessary to diagnose CTE and distinguish it from Alzheimer's or ALS. While CTE is a separate diagnosis, the symptoms are often similar to those found in Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and ALS, and can occur as the result of multiple concussions."

Lehman said the study was limited by the small number of deaths in the analysis.

The study was supported by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy of Neurology (AAN). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Everett J. Lehman, Misty J. Hein, Sherry L. Baron, and Christine M. Gersic. Neurodegenerative causes of death among retired National Football League players. Neurology, Published ahead of print September 5, 2012; DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e31826daf50

Cite This Page:

American Academy of Neurology (AAN). "NFL players may be at higher risk of death from Alzheimer’s and ALS, research shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120905163335.htm>.
American Academy of Neurology (AAN). (2012, September 5). NFL players may be at higher risk of death from Alzheimer’s and ALS, research shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120905163335.htm
American Academy of Neurology (AAN). "NFL players may be at higher risk of death from Alzheimer’s and ALS, research shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120905163335.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Researchers say women who diet at a young age are at greater risk of developing harmful health habits, including eating disorders and alcohol abuse. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. 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