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Concussions May Cause Memory Loss in Athletes

| May 21, 2015 Comment

Concussions May Cause Memory Loss in Athletes – A new study of retired┬áNational Football League (NFL) players shows that concussions which cause players to lose consciousness can lead to memory loss later in life.

Senior study author Munro Cullum, chief of neuropsychology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and his team invited 28 retired NFL players living in Texas to participate in the study. Their ages ranged from 36 to 79, and 8 had been diagnosed with cognitive impairment and 20 with no memory problems.

Researchers used memory tests and brain scans and compared the results of the former NFL players and a control group of people who didn’t play college or pro football. Participants were given a common verbal test to measure how well they could recall lists of words and understand how the words are related.

Players who had concussions that led to a loss of consciousness and diagnosed with memory problems had the lowest scores. Brain scans in these patients revealed a smaller volume in the hippocampus, a region of the brain associated with memory.

The study was published in JAMA Neurology.

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