Prevalence of cerebral microhemorrhages in amateur boxers as detected by 3T MR imaging

Author(s): Hähnel S, Stippich C, Weber I, Darm H, Schill T, et al.


Background and purpose:The evidence for traumatic brain injury in amateur boxers is controversial. Hypothetically, sudden acceleration of the head due to the impact of the blow during the boxing fight might result in diffuse axonal injury or contusion. We wanted to determine whether cerebral microhemorrhages occur more often in amateur boxers than in nonboxers.

Materials and methods:In 42 male, classical amateur boxers and in 37 healthy, nonboxing male volunteers we performed cranial MR imaging at 3T. The study protocol included a transverse dual spin-echo MR imaging sequence, a 3D sagittal magnetization-prepared rapid acquisition of gradient echo sequence, a coronal T2*-weighted sequence, and an axial time-of-flight MR angiography sequence. MR imaging data were made anonymous before 2 neuroradiologists independently evaluated the images. In addition, the following risk factors were assessed: total numbers of fights and knockouts, weight division, and duration of boxing. We compared the group proportions of microhemorrhages with Fisher test of exact probability.

Results:There was a statistically higher prevalence of cerebral microhemorrhages in the group of boxers (3 of 42; 7.1%) than in nonboxing persons (0 of 37; 0%). This difference was not statistically significant, however (P = .2479; Fisher exact test).

Conclusion:Although we detected more microhemorrhages in amateur boxers than in nonboxing persons, this difference did not prove to be significant.

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