Cognition in Professional Fighters Associated With 7 Biomarkers

HealthDay News — In active male professional fighters, a set of biomarkers is associated with cognition, according to a study published online in Radiology.

Virendra R. Mishra, PhD, from the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, and colleagues recruited 297 fighters (24 women and 273 men); 62 fighters (6 women and 56 men) returned for follow-up. The main analysis included only men. Fighters were classified into cognitively impaired and non-impaired groups, on the basis of computerized testing. Multiple magnetic resonance imaging modalities were performed. The authors designed a classifier to identify imaging biomarkers related to cognitive impairment.

The researchers found that 7 imaging biomarkers related to cognitive impairment were identified by the classifier. With the optimized classifier, areas under the curve of 0.76 and 0.69 were obtained at baseline and follow-up, respectively. There was a significant negative association for the number of years of fighting with fractional anisotropy of the forceps major and the inferior longitudinal fasciculus. 

The impaired and non-impaired groups differed significantly in the association of fractional anisotropy in the forceps major with the number of fights and years of fighting. In non-impaired fighters, but not impaired fighters, there was a positive association for fractional anisotropy of the inferior longitudinal fasciculus with psychomotor speed.

“The study revealed a set of 7 imaging biomarkers that were associated with cognition in active male professional fighters,” the authors wrote.

One author disclosed financial ties to the fighting and television industries.

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Mishra VR, Zhuang X, Sreenivasan KR, et al. Mutimodal MR imaging signatures of cognitive impairment in active professional fighters [published online July 25, 2017]. Radiology. doi:10.1148/radiol.2017162403