Dementia Threat Greater for Elite Soccer Players

Men who performed elite soccer had been extra seemingly to manufacture neurodegenerative diseases — notably, dementia — as they old, a behold in Sweden showed.

The probability of neurodegenerative disease used to be 46% elevated amongst soccer avid gamers who performed in the Swedish prime division than in the final population (HR 1.46, 95% CI 1.33-1.60), in preserving with Peter Ueda, MD, PhD, of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, and co-authors.

Alzheimer’s disease and dementia had been 62% extra overall amongst soccer avid gamers than controls (HR 1.62, 95% CI 1.47-1.78), the researchers reported in Lancet Public Health.

Goalkeepers did not have an elevated probability of neurodegenerative disease but outfield avid gamers did, suggesting repetitive hits from heading the ball will be a ingredient.

“In distinction to outfield avid gamers, goalkeepers rarely ever head the ball,” Ueda told MedPage On the present time. “Despite the reality that other components that fluctuate by football player set of dwelling would possibly possibly also moreover influence this incompatibility, the finding lends enhance to the hypothesis that heading the ball would possibly possibly also just develop the danger of dementia.”

A old behold in Scotland showed that neurodegenerative disease mortality amongst old knowledgeable soccer avid gamers used to be about 3.5 cases elevated than the final population.

More only in the near past, the Scotland study team reported that neurodegenerative disease probability in old soccer avid gamers used to be associated with field set of dwelling and occupation dimension, indicating a elevated probability with cumulative publicity to outfield positions.

“The reality that this well-performed behold replicates prior study on football avid gamers in Scotland ought to persuade skeptics that the connection between heading and dementia is proper and preventable,” acknowledged Chris Nowinski, PhD, of the Concussion Legacy Basis in Boston, who wasn’t alive to with the behold.

“We have to pick steps to diminish probability by rising the age at which kids start heading, and then make a choice steps to diminish the frequency and magnitude of headers,” Nowinski told MedPage On the present time.

“The Soccer Affiliation in England is leading the dialog on age of first publicity by removing heading sooner than age 12,” Nowinski pointed out.

“Other countries ought to match that protection, and I rely on the age will develop as folks start to understand the advantages of fewer concussions in kids and CTE [chronic traumatic encephalopathy] cases in football avid gamers,” he added. “Once heading is launched, sports actions organizations need to pickle strict limits, especially on elevated magnitude impacts.”

Ueda’s study team studied health records of 6,007 male soccer avid gamers who performed in the Swedish prime division Allsvenskan from 1924 through 2019, comparing them with 56,168 matched controls from the final Swedish population.

Over a median apply-up time of 28 years, 8.9% of elite soccer athletes and 6.2% of controls had been identified with neurodegenerative disease. A total of 8.2% of soccer avid gamers developed Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, when compared with 5.1% of guys in the final population.

The probability of motor neuron disease, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), used to be identical amongst avid gamers and non-avid gamers. Parkinson’s disease used to be less overall amongst soccer avid gamers (HR 0.68, 95% 0.52-0.89) than the final population, and loss of life from any cause used to be moderately lower.

The lower overall mortality would possibly possibly also existing that elite soccer avid gamers have better overall health and physical health than the final population, seen behold co-writer Björn Pasternak, MD, PhD, moreover of the Karolinska Institute.

“Bodily exercise is expounded with a lower probability of dementia, so it will seemingly be hypothesized that the aptitude risks from head impacts are being moderately offset by having beautiful physical health,” Pasternak acknowledged. “Appropriate physical health would possibly possibly even be the reason in the support of the lower probability of Parkinson’s disease.”

The study presentations an affiliation between dementia and elite soccer, now not cause-and-elevate out, Ueda emphasised.

“Even though we would have finest recordsdata on causality, what to preserve out with it is a topic of values and a resolution for the broader community and individual avid gamers to originate,” he acknowledged. “Our behold offers recordsdata that would possibly possibly also enhance such resolution-making.”

“I mediate it is a necessity to emphasise that these findings are in preserving with elite avid gamers who had been active mostly at some level of the mid-20th century,” Ueda added. “Their applicability to contemporary elite avid gamers and to beginner and formative years avid gamers is unsure.”

  • Judy George covers neurology and neuroscience facts for MedPage On the present time, writing about brain aging, Alzheimer’s, dementia, MS, uncommon diseases, epilepsy, autism, headache, stroke, Parkinson’s, ALS, concussion, CTE, sleep, misfortune, and extra. Observe


This behold used to be funded by Karolinska Institutet, Swedish Overview Council for Sport Science, Folksam Overview Basis, Hedberg Basis, Neurofonden, and Åhlen Basis.

Ueda had no disclosures. One co-writer is the chairman of the Swedish Soccer Affiliation medical committee and a member of the medical committees of the Union of European Soccer Associations and the World Federation of Affiliation Soccer. All other authors declared no competing pursuits.

Necessary Provide

The Lancet Public Health

Provide Reference: Ueda P, et al “Neurodegenerative disease amongst male elite football (soccer) avid gamers in Sweden: a cohort behold” Lancet Public Health 2023; DOI: 10.1016/S2468-2667(23)00027-0.

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