Playing Football Tied to Higher Risk of Parkinsonism, Parkinson Disease

Longer duration of play and higher level of play both tied to higher risk
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Medically Reviewed By:
Mark Arredondo, M.D.

TUESDAY, Aug. 15, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Past participation in football is associated with higher odds of having a reported parkinsonism or Parkinson disease (PD) diagnosis, according to a study published online Aug. 11 in JAMA Network Open.

Hannah J. Bruce, from the Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, and colleagues evaluated the association between football participation and self-reported parkinsonism or PD diagnosis. Analysis included 1,875 men who endorsed playing any organized sport (including football in 729 men).

The researchers found that a history of playing football was associated with higher odds of having a parkinsonism or PD diagnosis (odds ratio [OR], 1.61). Longer duration of play was associated with higher odds of having a parkinsonism or PD diagnosis (OR, 1.12), overall, and among football players (OR, 1.12). Playing football at a higher level of play further heightened odds of having parkinsonism or PD (OR, 2.93).

"The findings suggest that American football participation might be a risk factor for developing parkinsonism or PD," the authors write. "Prospective research among community-based samples that objectively evaluate parkinsonism and PD in former American football players across different levels of play will clarify the observed associations."

Two authors disclosed ties to the biotechnology industry.

Abstract/Full Text

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