One-day football in high school may be enough for microscopic changes in the structure of the brain, according to a new study conducted by scientists from the University of California in collaboration with scientists from the universities of Duke and North Carolina in America.
Researchers used a new type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to take a sample of 16 high school students aged 15 to 17 before and after the football season.
Researchers have found significant changes in the structure of gray matter at the front and back of the brain, where effects may occur, as well as changes in the deep brain structure, and participants wore helmets, none of which were affected enough to cause concussion.
The study – published in the journal Neurology of Diseases in its new edition for December – is the first of its kind to deal with the impact of sport on the brain of children.
"It has become obvious that repeated effects on the head, even in the short term, can cause changes in the brain," said Shunley Liu, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Duke University. The brain grows in it when it is not mature yet, so there are many biological processes, and it is not known how the changes we observe can affect how the brain is mature and developed. "
"The accumulated evidence suggests that repetitive blows in the skull – such as those that occur during exercise, such as hockey, football or explosive injuries in military combat – can lead to long-term deterioration of cognitive function and increase the risk of neurological disorders.
Over the last decade, scientists have found that a large number of retired soldiers and retired professional footballers have demonstrated the symptoms of a newly diagnosed neurodegenerative disease called CTE, which is characterized by the accumulation of the "Tao" protein of the brain.
Although this is not well understood, this disorder is thought to cause mood disorder, decline in cognitive ability and ultimately motor disorder when the patient progresses with age, the final diagnosis of chronic brain encephalopathy can only be made by examining the Tao protein brain at autopsy.
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