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Neuroscientist calls for ban on boxing to stop brain damage

Neuroscientist calls for ban on boxing to stop brain damage
22nd March 2013

A leading neuroscientist has called for the sport of boxing to be banned due to the damage that punches can do to the brain.

John Hardy, chair of molecular biology and neurological disease at University College London's Institute of Neurology, told Reuters he was appalled to see women boxing for the first time at last summer's London Olympics.

Not because females shouldn't be allowed to compete on the same stage as their male counterparts, but because it meant more people were involved in a sport which has links to a number of brain disorders including Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

He pointed out that neuroscience now knows more than ever about brain damage and hits to the head can lead to "long-term trauma".

"You get tiny lesions along the blood vessels where they have torn the nerve cells around them. This damages those nerve cells, and those cells start to develop the tangles that you see in Alzheimer's disease,"  Mr Hardy explained.

Despite this, advocates of boxing believe the sport does more good than harm as it teaches fitness and discipline.

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