Boston University Researchers Study Contact Sports' Impact On Brains

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BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — An online joint study between researchers from Boston University and the University of California will look into the impacts that contact sports may have on a brain's long-term health.

Officials said the study, named the "Head Impact & Trauma Surveillance Study (HITSS) will examine the risks for developing dementia, cognitive decline, changes in behavior and mood later in a person's life, after they suffered repetitive head impacts from sports like soccer or tackle football.

"The questions are as simple as: what is the risk associated with repetitive head impacts and long-term problems with memory? We know not everyone is going to go on to develop problems, so why do some people who have had this history have them while others don't? We'll be able to tease apart those risk factors," BU Doctor Michael Alosco said.

The study will be conducted entirely online, officials said. Researchers said study participants must be aged 40 or older and can complete it in about two hours. Officials said participants will be asked questions on things like their concussion and medical history, behavior and mood, and take part in memory tests. Interested parties can find more about participation in the HITSS study here.

HITSS Ambassadors included people such as national sportscaster Bob Costas and Super Bowl Champion and Hall of Famer Warren Sapp.

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“While there have been significant research advances in recent years, past studies have been limited by focusing solely on former professional tackle football players and/or including only small numbers of male participants,” stated Matt Roebuck, HITSS Recruitment Coordinator.

Officials said that HITSS aims to determine if sex, race, social determinants of health, vascular risk profile, sleep quality, or substance abuse modify risks from repetitive head impact exposure from participation in soccer and tackle football.

WBZ's Karyn Regal (@Karynregal) reports.

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