Boxing possibly less dangerous for brain

March 30th, 2008 - 3:35 pm ICT by admin  

New York, March 30 (IANS) Boxing is possibly less dangerous for the brain than previously feared - at least for amateurs, according to a new study. The study by University of Heidelberg researchers, however, said conclusive statements on the level of danger are not yet possible.

Whether professional boxers such as Muhammad Ali contracted their brain conditions - in his case Parkinson’s disease at the age of 40 - from boxing, remains unclear, the study said.

An 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, ScienceDaily reported.

These were the conclusions 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.

Findings of the study have been published in the latest issue of the American Journal of Neuroradiology.

In three of the 42 boxers studied, micro-haemorrhages were found, while in the comparison group of 37 non-boxers there were no such changes. However, the difference was not statistically significant.

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 micro-haemorrhages, possible precursors to Parkinson’s disease and dementia.

“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,” said Stefan H

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