boxers dementia pugilistica Dementia Pugilistica aka Boxer's Dementia Boxer's Dementia is caused by severe, repeated head trauma, common in athletes who have suffered multiple head injuries in their sport over time. February 03, 2014 Written By: Allison Castro Published On February 03, 2014 In the last decade we've begun to hear more about the long-term effects of concussions and head injuries on athletes. With the startling increase of erratic and deteriorating mental conditions in athletes, like those that led to the suicides of high-profile athletes like the NFL's Andre Waters and Dave Duerson and University of Pennsylvania's Owen Thomas, doctors and athletes are searching for possible links between brain injuries and dementia. Here's a rundown on what we know so far, and what preventative measures can be taken. What is Boxer's Dementia? Boxer's Dementia, more commonly referred to as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and also known as dementia pugilistica, is caused by repeated concussive and sub-concussive injuries to the head, such as those frequently suffered by boxers and football players. These repeated head traumas can result in neuronal death, the loss of communication between nerve cells, the degeneration of brain tissue and the build up of tau protein. Because CTE is a slowly progressive degenerative disease, the severity of its symptoms will increase in time, beginning with symptoms such as impaired concentration, memory loss and occasional dizziness and headaches; and progressing to more severe symptoms such as poor judgment, tremors, poor impulse control, mood disorders and vertigo. Complicated Diagnosis Though research into the link between boxers and dementia began in the 1920s, it has recently been widened to include all contact sports with a high occurrence of repeated head trauma. One of the most troubling aspects of the disease is that there are no standardized diagnostic tools known to indicate the presence of CTE, and because the symptoms occur progressively—often during middle age, years after the brain trauma has been sustained—it is difficult to detect before the person becomes symptomatic. However, studies postulate that occurrences of CTE may be affected by the chosen sport, duration of career and age when injuries occurred. Researchers are also investigating whether a genetic predisposition is a factor. The Stats 10 to 20 percent of professional boxers suffer from persistent motor skill, cognition and behavior impairments, due to head injuries sustained through their sport. Though many athletes who have sustained concussions will recover quickly, at least 17 percent of individuals with persisting neuropathological symptoms due to repeated head injuries will develop CTE. Boston University's Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy has shown that the mean age for the onset of CTE symptoms is 42.8 years old, with symptoms generally manifesting themselves an average of eight years after retirement from sports. In players with CTE, 1/3 of athletes already show symptoms of CTE upon retirement. Prevention Because research on CTE is still in its early stages, there are no known methods of reversing or halting its progression. However, the increase in knowledge of the impact brain injuries can have can help raise sport equipment standards to a safer level. Because of CTE research, some doctors are also more cautious about releasing athletes who have suffered head injuries back into competitive play, and are developing stricter recovery timelines for concussed players. In some sports, officials can also rethink or implement new or stricter penalties for intentional plays that will cause significant head injuries. However, the best method of prevention is to eliminate injuries to the head. 0618 Recommended Articles dementia pugilistica Dementia Pugilistica Most Searched Types Alzheimer's Huntington's Disease Parkinson's Disease Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Early-Onset Dementia Tags: boxers dementia pugilistica concussion mild cognitive impairment chronic traumatic encephalopathy head injury causes Learn More: End Stage Of Dementia The Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) Early-Onset Dementia The Best Foods For Dementia Patients The Mini Mental Status Exam (MMSE) Should I See A Psychiatrist, Or A Neurologist?