March 1, 2017

Resercheres find brain disease in retired soccer players

Web MD - For the first time, researchers have confirmed evidence of the devastating brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathyin retired soccer players.

Investigators in the United Kingdom examined the brains of six former soccer players with dementia who had died. All six had signs of Alzheimer's disease and four also had signs of CTE, the degenerative brain condition that has been linked to repetitive head trauma.

"This is the first time CTE has been confirmed in a group of retired" soccer players, said study lead author Dr. Helen Ling, a neurologist at University College London.

The rate of CTE among the former soccer players was higher than the 12 percent found in the general population, the researchers reported.

Other studies have found evidence of CTE in the brains of athletes who compete in such contact sports as boxing and American football.

While the new findings suggest a link between playing soccer and later degenerative brain disease, Ling said only a few retired players were studied. Researchers don't know how common dementia is among soccer players.

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