Study – White Matter Disturbance In Brains of Amateur Boxers

Posted: May 31, 2016 in Safety Studies, Uncategorized

Adding to this site’s archived summaries of studies addressing safety issues in combat sports, a recent study was published in the Journal of Neuroradiology canvassing the extent of objective white matter disturbance in the brains of amateur boxers compared to a control group.

The study, titled Reduced White Matter Integrity in Amateur Boxers, posed the question of whether amateur boxers would have white matter disturbance detectable on imaging given the greater safety protocols in place at the amateur level.  The study conducted  diffusion tensor imaging of the brains of 31 amateur boxers an compared these to a non boxing peer group.

The study found that “revealed widespread white matter disturbance partially related to the individual fighting history in amateur boxers. These findings closely resemble those in patients with accidental TBI and indicate similar histological changes in amateur boxers.

The full abstract is reproduced below –

Introduction

Professional boxing can lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a variant of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Its occurrence in amateur boxers is a matter of debate since amateur boxing is considered to be less harmful due to more strict regulations. However, several studies using different methodological approaches have revealed subtle signs of TBI even in amateurs. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is sensitive to microscopic white matter changes and has been proven useful in TBI when routine MR imaging often is unrevealing.

Methods

DTI, with tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) together with neuropsychological examination of executive functions and memory, was used to investigate a collective of 31 male amateur boxers and 31 age-matched controls as well as a subgroup of 19 individuals, respectively, who were additionally matched for intellectual performance (IQ).

Results

All participants had normal findings in neurological examination and conventional MR. Amateur boxers did not show deficits in neuropsychological tests when their IQ was taken into account. Fractional anisotropy was significantly reduced, while diffusivity measures were increased along central white matter tracts in the boxers group. These changes were in part associated with the number of fights.

Conclusions

TBSS revealed widespread white matter disturbance partially related to the individual fighting history in amateur boxers. These findings closely resemble those in patients with accidental TBI and indicate similar histological changes in amateur boxers.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s