Impact of playing American professional football on long term brain function.

ABSTRACT:
We recruited 100 active and former NFL players, representing 27 teams and all positions. Players underwent a clinical history, brain SPECT imaging, qEEG, and multiple neuropsychological measures, including Microcog. Compared to a normal control group players showed global decreased perfusion, especially in the prefrontal, temporal lobe, parietal, occipital and cerebellar regions. qEEG findings were consistent, showing elevated slow waves in the frontal and temporal regions. Significant decreases from normal values were found in most neuropsychological tests. This is the first large-scale brain-imaging study to demonstrate significant differences consistent with a chronic brain trauma pattern in professional football players.

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