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Brains of young football players can be changed in one season, study says

| | December 11, 2018

A single season playing football might be all it takes to change a young athlete’s brain.

Researchers used special MRI methods to look at nerve bundles in the brain in a study of the brains of 26 young male football players, average age 12, before and after one season. Twenty-six more young males who didn’t play football also got MRI scans at the same time to be used as a control group.

In the youths who played football, the researchers found that nerve fibers in their corpus callosum — the band that connects the two halves of brain — changed over the season, says lead study author Jeongchul Kim.

Kim says the researchers found some nerve bundles grew longer and other bundles became shorter, or contracted, after the players’ initial MRI scans at the beginning of the season. He says they saw no changes in the integrity of the bundles.

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The team says these results suggest that repeated blows to the head could lead to changes in the shape of the corpus callosum, which is critical to integrating cognitive, motor and sensory functions between the two hemispheres of the brain, during a critical time for brain development in young people.

The researchers say their ultimate goal is to help inform guidelines for safer football play for youths.

Read full, original post: Changes In Brain Scans Seen After A Single Season Of Football For Young Players

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