AAN: Years of Ice Hockey Play Increase Risk for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

Dose-response relationship also seen for severity of chronic traumatic encephalopathy
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THURSDAY, March 3, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- There is a dose-response relationship between years of ice hockey play and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) risk and severity, according to a study scheduled for presentation at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, to be held from April 2 to 7 in Seattle.

Bobak Abdolmohammadi, from the Boston University School of Medicine, and colleagues investigated the relationship between years of ice hockey play and the risk for CTE neuropathology at autopsy. The analysis included 74 consecutive brain donors from the Veterans Affairs-Boston University-Concussion Legacy Foundation and Framingham Heart Study Brain Banks, all of whom played ice hockey.

The researchers found that 54 percent of donors were diagnosed with CTE, with a dose-response relationship observed between the duration of ice hockey play and each outcome. Specifically, each additional year of play corresponded to a 23 percent increase in odds for having CTE, a 15 percent increase in odds for increasing one CTE stage, and a 0.03 standard deviation increase in cumulative neurofibrillary tangles burden. When limiting the analysis to those who played hockey as their primary source of exposure (56 donors), the investigators found the results to be similar.

"Previous research has shown a relationship between increasing years of playing football and increased chances of developing chronic traumatic encephalopathy later on, and our results suggest the same is true for ice hockey," coauthor Jesse Mez, M.D., also from the Boston University School of Medicine, said in a statement.

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