Elite footballers more likely to develop dementia
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According to an observational study published in The Lancet Public Health, male football players were 1.5 times more likely to develop neurodegenerative diseases than a control population, writes Scienceblog.
Among male soccer players playing in the Swedish top flight, 9% (537 out of 6,007) of male football players were diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease compared to 6% (3,485 out of 56,168) in the control population.
There has been growing concern in recent years about head injury sustained during football matches and whether it could lead to an increased risk of neurodegenerative diseases later in life. more likely to get sick.Following this evidence, some football associations have taken action to reduce the number of goals scored in younger age groups and in training environments.
Peter Ueda, Associate Professor at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, says: “While the increase in risk in our study is slightly smaller than in a previous study in Scotland, it confirms that elite football players have an increased risk of neurogenerative diseases later in life. As there are more calls for more proactive measures to protect brain health, our study adds to the limited evidence base and can be used to make decisions about how to manage these risks.
The study used Sweden's national health registers to search for records of diagnoses, deaths or use of prescription drugs for dementia in 6,007 male football players who played in the Swedish top flight from 1924 to 2019.
The analysis revealed the risk of various neurogenerative conditions, including Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia, motor neurone diseases and Parkinson's disease. It also showed the difference in risks between field players and goalkeepers – due to heading the ball.
The risk of neurodegenerative diseases was 1.5 times higher in outfield players compared to controls, but not significantly higher in goalkeepers.
Football players were 1.6 times more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease and other dementias compared to controls: 8% (491 out of 6,007) of football players were diagnosed with the disease compared to 5% (2,889 out of 56,168) in controls .
Football players did not have a significant increase in the risk of motor neurone disease, including ALS. The risk of Parkinson's disease was lower among football players. Overall mortality among football players was slightly lower compared to controls (40% vs. 42%) .
It is noted that only elite male football players were considered in the study.
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