Repeat concussions may take a toll on the flow of blood to pro football players’ brains. Many current and retired players have abnormal areas of low blood flow in the brains, according to the study, published today in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
The study, which relied on the use of high-tech neuroimaging equipment and analytics, looked at the brains of 161 NFL players, with an average age of 52. It is said to be the largest study of its kind to date.
“Investigators determined that on average the NFL players had lower blood flow in 36 areas of the brain,” according to a release about the study. “The decreased blood flow in six regions of the brain was the most important in determining who had football-related health trauma.”
Those are the regions of the brain that control learning, mood, and memory. If damaged, they can generate cognitive and psychiatric problems. That’s bolstered by the fact, the release said, that 83% of the NFL players in the study suffer with memory problems, while 29% have a history of depression.