The Science Blog has an article about how concussions promote dementia in retired football players, which was mentioned over at Make Stupidity History. I do not necessarily agree with the interpretation by the folks at MSH, but I thought that the original article would be worth commenting on.

Basically, the study was run by sending questionaires to a few thousand retired football players, comparing results of the questionaire and then sending new ones to about one thousand again, and analyzing those results. Those who had been diagnosed with concussions had a more likely chance of having had memory problems as they got older, and those with 3 or more concussions were much more likely than any of the others. As pointed out in MSH, though:

The study’s chief limitation was that it was based on self-reported answers to the health questions, and the accuracy of remembering memory problems could not be verified completely.

I do not necessarily trust the results in any sort of scientific way, other than to point out that using common sense shows that one would be more likely to have head problems if they constantly knocked their head about in their youth. However, this is a price that most if not all of those men were probably willing to pay.

If one is going to participate in a contact sport, there is always the risk of having a serious or even life threatening injury. One should be aware that if they are going to get multiple concussions that they may be more likely to contract alzheimers, but most people in the prime of their youth probably do not really care and are living for the moment and the immiediate future.