How 'punch drunk syndrome' could help in Alzheimer’s

Studying the damaged brains of boxers could be used to develop new treatments, researchers say

Scientists studying the damaged brains of boxers and other athletes have found key details about a head injury-linked disease called 'punch drunk syndrome' that could help with the development of new diagnostics and treatments for Alzheimer's.

The syndrome, also known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), is linked to repeated blows to the head and causes a type of dementia similar to Alzheimer’s.

CTE can affect people who play contact sports — such as boxing, rugby, soccer and football — but currently can only be diagnosed after death, since brain tissue has to be removed and analysed to confirm presence of the disease.

Like Alzheimer's, CTE features the abnormal build-up of certain proteins in the brain.

One of those proteins is called tau. It forms filaments that clump up in tangles inside brain cells.

In the study in Nature, researchers from the UK