Contact Sports May Alter the Brain, Scans Suggest

Contact Sports May Alter the Brain, Scans Suggest

There are differences in the brains of athletes who play contact sports and those who play noncontact sports, according to researchers.

Mental Health Does Not Come With A Manual, It Comes With Friends & Family Support That Never Gives Up!
Join now

But they added that it isn't clear if these differences are caused by blows to the head because the study only showed an association.

The Indiana University investigators scanned the brains of 21 college football players, 19 college cross-country runners and 11 non-college-level athletes while they did a simple visual task.

Compared to the cross-country runners and non-college athletes, the football players had much more activity in regions of the brain responsible for visual processing, according to the study.

"We focused on these brain regions because physicians and trainers regularly encounter large deficits in players' ability to smoothly track a moving point with their eyes after suffering an acute concussion," senior author and concussion expert Nicholas Port said in a university news release.

The findings are difficult to interpret, he added.

"Everyone from musicians to taxi drivers has differences in brain activity related to their specific skills," Port said.

"The differences in this study may reflect a lifetime exposure of subconcussive blows to the head, or they could simply be the result of playing a visually demanding sport where you're constantly using your hands and tracking the ball," he explained.

The Internet's Most Trusted Source For Mental Health Information
Sign up

The best way to learn the reasons for these differences would be a similar study involving only football players, according to Port.

The study was published recently in the journal Neuroimage: Clinical.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers brain injury prevention tips.


Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.


Related Content

Study Finds Tdap Vaccination for Pregnant Women Does Not Increase Risk of Autism
Study Finds Tdap Vaccination for Pregnant Women Does Not Increase Risk of Autism

A Kaiser Permanente study of more than 80,000 children born over a 4-year period...

Read more
Herpesvirus May Lead to Bipolar, Depression
Herpesvirus May Lead to Bipolar, Depression

Scientists have discovered the human herpesvirus HHV-6 in the neurons of people ...

Read more
Treating Teen Depression Might Improve Mental Health Of Parents, Too
Treating Teen Depression Might Improve Mental Health Of Parents, Too

An estimated 12.8 percent of adolescents in the U.S. experience at least one epi...

Read more
'I Am Happy and Confident': Woman Loses 140 Pounds by Making One Change at a Time
'I Am Happy and Confident': Woman Loses 140 Pounds by Making One Change at a Time

After graduating from college, Laura Morgan watched as her friends traveled, wen...

Read more
With Short, Intense Sessions, Some Patients Finish Therapy in Just Weeks
With Short, Intense Sessions, Some Patients Finish Therapy in Just Weeks

Six middle- and high-school students sat around a table on a Monday afternoon, w...

Read more
Parents of Premature Babies Face a Further Trauma - PTSD
Parents of Premature Babies Face a Further Trauma - PTSD

Suzanne Ruart's son Aiden spent three months in a neonatal unit as a result of b...

Read more