Athletes who play contact sports associated with repetitive head impacts, such as football and ice hockey, may be at increased risk for Lewy body disease, which can cause Parkinson's, a brain disorder that leads to impaired movement and thinking, according to a study by researchers at the VA Boston (Mass.) Healthcare System and Boston University School of Medicine.
The findings come amid mounting evidence that repetitive head impacts from contact sports and other exposures are associated with the neurodegenerative disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and dementia.
Since CTE first was described in "punch drunk' boxers in the 1920s, scientists have hypothesized that the motor symptoms that appear in a minority of CTE cases--including tremors, slowness, and difficulty walking --were caused by CTE pathology.
This study--published in the Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology--suggests that those motor symptoms instead are caused by a separate disease, now also linked to contact sports participation, called Lewy body disease (LBD).
LBD, which can lead to what is known as Lewy body dementia as well as...