Summary: Cognitive deficits and depression appear to be more common in aging former NFL players compared with healthy controls. These conclusions were based on a study of a cross-sectional sample of 34 former NFL players (mean age 61.8) with and without a history of concussion, and age-, education-, and IQ-matched controls. They were evaluated with neuropsychological measures, clincal diagnoses of depression, neuroimaging measures of white matter pathology, and a measure of cerebral blood flow. 14 of the 34 NFL players had some cognitive impairment; and 2 had dementia. 8 had depression. These deficits could be correlated with white matter abnormalities in cognitively impaired and depressed retired players compared with their respective controls; and regional blood flow differences in the cognitively impaired group (left temporal pole, inferior parietal lobule, and superior temporal gyrus) corresponded to regions associated with impaired neurocognitive performance (problems with memory, naming, and word finding).
Neuroimaging of Cognitive Dysfunction and Depression in Aging Retired National Football League Players: A Cross-sectional Study
Citation: Hart, J, Kraut, MA, Womack, KB, Strain, J, Didehbani, N, Bartz, E, Conover, H, Mansinghani, S, Lu, H and Cullum, CM. 2013. Neuroimaging of Cognitive Dysfunction and Depression in Aging Retired National Football League Players: A Cross-sectional Study. JAMA Neurol 1-10.