Updates on the BRAIN and HEADING studies: an interview with Neil Pearce

Written by Sharon Salt, Senior Editor

The link between neurodegeneration and a history of head impacts in former athletes has been a topic of increasing discussion over recent years, with evidence accumulating to support this potential increased risk. To gain a greater understanding of this correlation, the BRAIN and HEADING studies, which are funded by The Drake Foundation (London, UK), are looking into the impact of concussion in retired rugby and football players, respectively.

The BRAIN study aims to determine whether there is an association between a history of concussion and cognitive decline and neurodegeneration in retired rugby players, whereas the HEADING study aims to examine the associations between a history of concussion and heading the ball and neurodegenerative disease in retired football players.

At the UK Sports Concussion Research Foundation (27 November 2019), we had the pleasure of hearing from Neil Pearce (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK) about updates surrounding the BRAIN and HEADING studies, including how the researchers plan to estimate heading exposure in study participants.

The HEADING study is now actively recruiting participants: if you are a retired football player and have received an invitation to participate, please use the contact details provided in your invite to reply to the study investigators.

For any other queries on the HEADING study, you can contact the research team via [email protected]

Questions on the BRAIN and HEADING studies:

00:05 – Can you tell us about the BRAIN study?

01:28 – You’ve now launched the HEADING study – can you tell us about this?

02:15 – How will you estimate heading exposure in participants?

03:05 – What do you expect to find?

03:43 – How can ex-players get involved?

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The opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views of Neuro Central or Future Science Group.