Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Persistent effects of playing football and associated (subconcussive) head trauma on brain structure and function: a systematic review of the literature


Tarnutzer, A A; Straumann, D; Brugger, P; Feddermann-Demont, N (2016). Persistent effects of playing football and associated (subconcussive) head trauma on brain structure and function: a systematic review of the literature. British Journal of Sports Medicine:Epub ahead of print.

Abstract

AIM/OBJECTIVE There is ongoing controversy about persistent neurological deficits in active and former football (soccer) players. We reviewed the literature for associations between football activities (including heading/head injuries) and decline in brain structure/function. DESIGN Systematic literature review. DATA SOURCES MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Cochrane-CRCT, SportDiscus, Cochrane-DSR=4 (accessed 2 August 2016). ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR SELECTING STUDIES Original studies reporting on football-related persistent effects on brain structure/function. Results from neurocognitive testing, neuroimaging and EEG were compared with controls and/or correlated with heading frequency and/or head injuries. Methodological quality was rated for risk-of-bias, including appropriateness of controls, correction for multiple statistical testing and assessment of heading frequency and head injuries. RESULTS 30 studies with 1691 players were included. Those 57% (8/14) of case-control studies reporting persistent neurocognitive impairment had higher odds for inappropriate control of type 1 errors (OR=17.35 (95% CI (10.61 to 28.36)) and for inappropriate selection of controls (OR=1.72 (1.22 to 2.43)) than studies observing no impairment. Studies reporting a correlation between heading frequency and neurocognitive deficits (6/17) had lower quality of heading assessment (OR=14.20 (9.01 to 22.39)) than studies reporting no such correlation. In 7 of 13 studies (54%), the number of head injuries correlated with the degree of neurocognitive impairment. Abnormalities on neuroimaging (6/8 studies) were associated with subclinical neurocognitive deficits in 3 of 4 studies. SUMMARY/CONCLUSIONS Various methodological shortcomings limit the evidence for persistent effects of football play on brain structure/function. Sources of bias include low-quality assessment of heading frequency, inappropriate control for type 1 errors and inappropriate selection of controls. Combining neuroimaging techniques with neurocognitive testing in prospective studies seems most promising to further clarify on the impact of football on the brain.

Abstract

AIM/OBJECTIVE There is ongoing controversy about persistent neurological deficits in active and former football (soccer) players. We reviewed the literature for associations between football activities (including heading/head injuries) and decline in brain structure/function. DESIGN Systematic literature review. DATA SOURCES MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Cochrane-CRCT, SportDiscus, Cochrane-DSR=4 (accessed 2 August 2016). ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR SELECTING STUDIES Original studies reporting on football-related persistent effects on brain structure/function. Results from neurocognitive testing, neuroimaging and EEG were compared with controls and/or correlated with heading frequency and/or head injuries. Methodological quality was rated for risk-of-bias, including appropriateness of controls, correction for multiple statistical testing and assessment of heading frequency and head injuries. RESULTS 30 studies with 1691 players were included. Those 57% (8/14) of case-control studies reporting persistent neurocognitive impairment had higher odds for inappropriate control of type 1 errors (OR=17.35 (95% CI (10.61 to 28.36)) and for inappropriate selection of controls (OR=1.72 (1.22 to 2.43)) than studies observing no impairment. Studies reporting a correlation between heading frequency and neurocognitive deficits (6/17) had lower quality of heading assessment (OR=14.20 (9.01 to 22.39)) than studies reporting no such correlation. In 7 of 13 studies (54%), the number of head injuries correlated with the degree of neurocognitive impairment. Abnormalities on neuroimaging (6/8 studies) were associated with subclinical neurocognitive deficits in 3 of 4 studies. SUMMARY/CONCLUSIONS Various methodological shortcomings limit the evidence for persistent effects of football play on brain structure/function. Sources of bias include low-quality assessment of heading frequency, inappropriate control for type 1 errors and inappropriate selection of controls. Combining neuroimaging techniques with neurocognitive testing in prospective studies seems most promising to further clarify on the impact of football on the brain.

Statistics

Citations

Altmetrics

Downloads

0 downloads since deposited on 17 Nov 2016
0 downloads since 12 months

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Neurology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Neuroscience Center Zurich
04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Integrative Human Physiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:4 November 2016
Deposited On:17 Nov 2016 10:38
Last Modified:29 May 2017 07:40
Publisher:BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN:0306-3674
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2016-096593
PubMed ID:27815240

Download