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Link found between concussions and Alzheimer's disease

Link found between concussions and Alzheimer's disease
24th January 2013

A new study has found a significant link between concussions and the development of Alzheimer's disease.

The research, performed by University of California, Los Angeles, used brain imaging tools on five retired American football players to see if the concussions they had sustained during their career had affected their brain.

The former players were injected with a chemical marker called FDDNP, which binds to deposits of abnormal tau proteins which are associated with various brain disorders including Alzheimer's.

A brain scan on former San Diego Chargers quarterback Wayne Clark revealed that he had elevated levels of FDDNP compared to that of a healthy male of a comparable age, education, body mass index and family history of dementia.

Players who had experienced more concussions while playing American football were found to have more apparent FDDNP present in their scans making them more susceptible to Alzheimer's disease.

Previous studies have shown that professional athletes in contact sports such as American football who are exposed to repetitive mild concussions may develop ongoing impairments such as memory loss, confusion, progressive dementia, and depression.

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