By AuntMinnie.com staff writers

February 28, 2013 -- The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded a $3 million grant to Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University to investigate the short- and long-term effects on the brain of heading a soccer ball, using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) MR.

Previous research led by Dr. Michael Lipton, PhD, associate director of Einstein's Gruss Magnetic Resonance Research Center and medical director of MRI services at Montefiore Medical Center, has shown that frequent heading of a soccer ball is associated with mild brain injury and cognitive impairment.

In that pilot study of amateur soccer players, Lipton and colleagues found players who headed the ball more than 1,000 to 1,500 times a year were more likely to have mild traumatic brain injury and cognitive impairment than players who headed the ball less.

The new study will recruit 400 active male and female adult soccer players and assess the relationship between heading over the previous year to structural and cognitive measures. DTI and cognitive tests will be used to measure brain function.

The researchers will follow the participants over two years to record any changes in these measures.


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