What boxing tells us about repetitive head trauma and the brain

Alzheimers Res Ther. 2013 Jun 4;5(3):23. doi: 10.1186/alzrt177. eCollection 2013.


Boxing and other combat sports may serve as a human model to study the effects of repetitive head trauma on brain structure and function. The initial description of what is now known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) was reported in boxers in 1928. In the ensuing years, studies examining boxers have described the clinical features of CTE, its relationship to degree of exposure to fighting, and an array of radiologic findings. The field has been hampered by issues related to study design, lack of longitudinal follow-up, and absence of agreed-upon clinical criteria for CTE. A recently launched prospective cohort study of professional fighters, the Professional Fighters Brain Health Study, attempts to overcome some of the problems in studying fighters. Here, we review the cross-sectional results from the first year of the project.

Publication types

  • Review