Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cognitive Issues, Exercise - Fitness / 23.04.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Robert A. Stern, Ph.D. Professor of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Anatomy & Neurobiology Director of Clinical Research, BU CTE Center Senior Investigator, BU Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center Boston University School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study?  Response: The link between playing American football at the professional level and later-life brain disorders like chronic traumatic encephalopathy – or CTE -- and ALS has received increasing attention over the past 15 years. Previous research has shown that former NFL players are more likely to die from CTE and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and more likely to report cognitive impairment, behavioral changes, and dementia during life. Despite previous research focusing on the later-life effects of playing American football at the professional level, the long-term effects of college football participation remain largely unknown. We had two goals for this new investigation. The first was to conduct a survey of the current overall health status, including cognitive and other neurological disorders, of older former college American football players compared with men in the general population. The second goal was to examine the mortality rate and causes of death in a cohort of older former college football players. The target population for this study was all 447 former Notre Dame football players who were listed as seniors on the varsity rosters during the 1964-1980 seasons. This was the era of legendary coaches Ara Parseghian and Dan Devine. I should add that this study was fully independent of the University of Notre Dame. (more…)