"Regular light blows to the head greatly increase the risk of dementia". Should your children switch to another sport?

BY & HA - Beautiful Youth & Healthy Aging

A study published in Clinical Sports Medicine once again confirms that sports in which athletes get hit in the head are the most dangerous in terms of the potential development of neurodegenerative diseases in older age! This fact has been known before. It’s enough to remember one of the most famous boxers of all time, Muhammad Ali.

A study led by speech specialists Visar Berisha and Julie Liss at Arizona State University found that the famous boxer showed the first symptoms of advanced Parkinson’s syndrome long before his official diagnosis. Those symptoms were a 26 percent slower speech rate and slurred speech.

Many readers may wonder, “Mohamed was a professional boxer. In addition, he competed in heavyweight boxing, in which boxers miss very hard blows to the head and don’t have a protective helmet. Amateur boxing shouldn’t lead to such sad consequences. Right?”

A new study by Cardiff University, which is based on the medical records of 1,123 men, refutes these assumptions. Unfortunately, regardless of bodyweight or protective equipment, amateur boxing is still the factor that doubles the risk of neurodegenerative diseases in older age and triples the chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The study also found that men who boxed got dementia five years earlier than those who did not box in their youth.

Dementia is a disease that impairs the cognitive (‘’thinking’’) abilities of the patient. Dementia causes a gradual decline in memory, mental abilities, the ability to orient in time and space, and the ability to recognize people and objects.

Alzheimer’s disease causes slow damage to neurons and the death of brain tissue. The disease gradually impairs memory, mental abilities, and the ability to cope with daily activities.

In this regard, scientists are calling for a complete ban on hitting the head in boxing. Yes, the aesthetics and entertainment of boxing would suffer. But this move could lead to a significant reduction in neurodegenerative diseases among the older population. Right now, one in seven Americans over the age of 70 has dementia!

Lead author Professor Peter Elwood said: “Professional boxing is known to cause chronic traumatic brain injury — but there has been little to no long-term research on this issue in amateur boxing”

“Our study, therefore, provides some of the best available evidence suggesting that amateur boxing is associated with clinically measurable long-term brain injury, manifested as earlier onset Alzheimer’s-like impairment… “

“Banning blows to the head would seem to be an acceptable preventive measure, as this need not reduce the competitive aspect of the sport but would preserve its undoubted considerable physical and social benefits.”

But boxing is not the only risk factor. It can also include other martial arts, where fighters get hit in the head, as well as soccer. For example, another study by researchers from the University of Glasgow College of Medical showed that professional soccer players had a 3.5 times higher rate of death from neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's.

Main takeaway

In summary, parents planning to enroll their child in a variety of sports, or adults who want to engage in one of these activities, can choose the one in which there are no blows to the head, thereby protecting themselves many times from the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in the future. For those who can’t give up these sports, it’s a good idea to have regular brain checkups with your doctor, try to avoid blows to the head as much as possible, follow diets that are good for your brain, and avoid severe stress. It won't significantly lower the risk of dementia, but it will slow down the rate of disease progression. You can read more about this in one of my future articles. Subscribe to my page! Be healthy and share this information with your relatives and social networks!

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