Dementia risk higher for outfield players than goalkeepers - study

3 days ago 36

Footballers going up   to caput  a ballImage source, Getty Images

By Philippa Roxby

Health reporter

A survey of antheral footballers successful Sweden, implicit galore years, recovered they were 1 and a fractional times much apt to make dementia than the wide population.

Nearly 9% developed the information compared with 6% of different radical - but goalkeepers were not astatine higher risk, the probe suggests.

Heading the shot repeatedly has been linked to encephalon injury, yet determination are galore causes of dementia.

A past Scottish study recovered a overmuch larger dementia hazard for footballers.

That probe suggested erstwhile nonrecreational players were 3 and a fractional times much apt to dice from dementia than radical of the aforesaid property successful the wide population.

It prompted shot associations crossed the UK and Europe to present guidelines reducing heading among children playing shot and adults during training.

This caller study, published successful The Lancet Public Health, compared the wellness of 6,000 footballers playing successful Sweden's apical part betwixt 1924 and 2019 with that of much than 56,000 non-footballers matched for property and location.

It recovered the footballers had:

  • a raised hazard of Alzheimer's illness and different types of dementia
  • no higher hazard of different degenerative encephalon diseases specified arsenic centrifugal neurone illness (MND)
  • a little hazard of Parkinson's disease

But the goalkeepers, who seldom caput the ball, did not make dementia arsenic often arsenic the outfield players.

It has been suggested that repeatedly heading the shot causes mild encephalon trauma, specified arsenic concussion, and leads to much cases of dementia successful aged age.

"It could beryllium that the quality successful neurodegenerative-disease hazard betwixt these 2 types of players supports this theory," pb survey writer Dr Peter Ueda, from the Karolinska Institute, says.

But galore unanswered questions remain.

A caput wounded is conscionable 1 of a scope of factors that rise the hazard of dementia - others include:

  • smoking
  • depression
  • high intoxicant consumption
  • inactivity and obesity
  • high humor pressure

The older idiosyncratic is and the genes they inherit besides play a immense role.

Dr Sara Imarisio, of Alzheimer's Research UK, said determination was "still much to bash to afloat recognize precisely what's driving this accrued risk".

"While heading the shot could beryllium a contributing factor, it's inactive imaginable that different aspects of players' lives, connected oregon disconnected the pitch, whitethorn beryllium a origin too," she said.

'Protect your brain'

The researchers admit they did not person entree to elaborate manner accusation for the study, nor information connected however galore caput injuries the footballers experienced.

Most of the players affected by dementia played high-level shot during the 1950s and 60s, erstwhile footballs were heavier and made of leather.

The hazard for today's footballers, including pistillate elite players, younker players and amateur players, is unclear - but those studied were fitter and healthier than the wide population, which could assistance support them against immoderate diseases.

It could beryllium the imaginable risks from caput impacts "are offset by having bully carnal fitness", survey writer Björn Pasternak says, which whitethorn besides explicate the little Parkinson's risk.

Professor Tara Spires-Jones, from the University of Edinburgh, said determination was a "large assemblage of grounds that workout successful the wide colonisation decreases dementia risk".

"My take-home connection is support your encephalon by some exercising and avoiding caput wounded and impacts," she said.

There are galore types of dementia, with Alzheimer's the astir common. Symptoms worsen implicit clip and see representation loss, confusion, problems with connection and behaviour changes.

About 900,000 radical successful the UK and 57 cardinal worldwide person dementia, with astir aged implicit 65, and those figures are expected to emergence sharply successful the coming years.

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