Contact Sports Athletes Are More Susceptible to Alzheimer’s Disease


Latest findings have concluded that repeated blows to the head could be linked to the higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Consequently, this may affect athletes of contact sports, since they could have a higher risk of experiencing dementia-inducing conditions.

With the laser imaging process, researchers are able to identify the “tau”, clusters of a protein, on the brain of affected individuals. Further examinations reveal possible relationships with neuronal damages, due to repeated head injuries. The advanced technology allows the research tem to get a unique insight into any molecular event that could occur on people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers can better understand things that cause the disease by investigating how the protein clusters spread between nerve cells. This would allow for new approaches and methods for treatments. However, the study still can’t conclude whether heady injury could trigger the molecular process. Even so, this is still a risk factor among athletes that researchers need to investigate further. But it has been confirmed that clusters of malfunctioning tau are found in brains of people who died while experiencing Alzheimer’s symptoms. They simply prevent brain cells from functioning properly. Researchers also discovered that brain cells tend to ingest the protein clusters, if they are present in the brain.

It is believed that clumping may cause erratic behaviors of healthy proteins and such clumping could be caused by repeated head injuries. Consequently, athletes of contact sports could be affected by this condition. Nevertheless, researchers still urge caution that the study involved only a model cell culture. In fact, the actual process that can cause the actual disease to emerge and develop might be much more complicated. Even so, researchers can get molecular-level glimpses that could them what will happen. Molecular steps could provide a better explanation on what takes place inside the brain of people who died with Alzheimer’s disease. They underlined that the uptake of limited quantities of tau could be a significant initiator of the condition.

This is one clue that could provide researchers with relatively good explanations as to why people who receive repeated blows to the head could be more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s. We still can’t firmly establish links between contact sports and Alzheimer’s, but previous studies have discovered that among professional American football players, the risk of neurodegenerative diseases is three times higher compared to the general population.