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6 Association Between American Football Play and Parkinson's Disease: Analysis of the Fox Insight Data Set

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 December 2023

Hannah Bruce*
Affiliation:
Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.
Yorghos Tripodis
Affiliation:
Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.
Michael McClean
Affiliation:
Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.
Monica Korell
Affiliation:
University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Caroline M Tanner
Affiliation:
University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Brittany Contreras
Affiliation:
University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Joshua Gottesman
Affiliation:
Michael J. Fox Foundation, New York, NY, USA.
Leslie Kirsch
Affiliation:
Michael J. Fox Foundation, New York, NY, USA.
Yasir Karim
Affiliation:
Michael J. Fox Foundation, New York, NY, USA.
Brett Martin
Affiliation:
Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.
Joseph Palmisano
Affiliation:
Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.
Thor D Stein
Affiliation:
Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.
Jesse Mez
Affiliation:
Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.
Robert A Stern
Affiliation:
Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.
Charles H Adler
Affiliation:
Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Scottsdale, AZ, USA. Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic Arizona, Scottsdale, AZ, USA.
Chris Nowinski
Affiliation:
Concussion Legacy Foundation, Boston, MA, USA
Ann C McKee
Affiliation:
Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.
Michael L Alosco
Affiliation:
Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.
*
Correspondence: Hannah J Bruce, Boston University School of Medicine, hjbruce@bu.edu
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Abstract

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Objective:

Parkinsonism and Parkinson's disease (PD) have been described as consequences of repetitive head impacts (RHI) from boxing, since 1928. Autopsy studies have shown that RHI from other contact sports can also increase risk for neurodegenerative diseases, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and Lewy bodies. In vivo research on the relationship between American football play and PD is scarce, with small samples, and equivocal findings. This study leveraged the Fox Insight study to evaluate the association between American football and parkinsonism and/or PD Diagnosis and related clinical outcomes.

Participants and Methods:

Fox Insight is an online study of people with and without PD who are 18+ years (>50,000 enrolled). Participants complete online questionnaires on motor function, cognitive function, and general health behaviors. Participants self-reported whether they "currently have a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease, or parkinsonism, by a physician or other health care professional." In November 2020, the Boston University Head Impact Exposure Assessment was launched in Fox Insight for large-scale data collection on exposure to RHI from contact sports and other sources. Data used in this abstract were obtained from the Fox Insight database https://foxinsight-info.michaeljfox.org/insight/explore/insight.jsp on 01/06/2022. The sample includes 2018 men who endorsed playing an organized sport. Because only 1.6% of football players were women, analyses are limited to men. Responses to questions regarding history of participation in organized football were examined. Other contact and/or non-contact sports served as the referent group. Outcomes included PD status (absence/presence of parkinsonism or PD) and Penn Parkinson's Daily Activities Questionnaire-15 (PDAQ-15) for assessment of cognitive symptoms. Binary logistic regression tested associations between history and years of football play with PD status, controlling for age, education, current heart disease or diabetes, and family history of PD. Linear regressions, controlling for these variables, were used for the PDAQ-15.

Results:

Of the 2018 men (mean age=67.67, SD=9.84; 10, 0.5% Black), 788 (39%) played football (mean years of play=4.29, SD=2.88), including 122 (16.3%) who played youth football, 494 (66.0%) played high school, 128 (17.1%) played college football, and 5 (0.7%) played at the semi-professional or professional level. 1738 (86.1%) reported being diagnosed with parkinsonism/PD, and 707 of these were football players (40.7%). History of playing any level of football was associated with increased odds of having a reported parkinsonism or PD diagnosis (OR=1.52, 95% CI=1.14-2.03, p=0.004). The OR remained similar among those age <69 (sample median age) (OR=1.45, 95% CI=0.97-2.17, p=0.07) and 69+ (OR=1.45, 95% CI=0.95-2.22, p=0.09). Among the football players, there was not a significant association between years of play and PD status (OR=1.09, 95% CI=1.00-1.20, p=0.063). History of football play was not associated with PDAQ-15 scores (n=1980) (beta=-0.78, 95% CI=-1.59-0.03, p=0.059) among the entire sample.

Conclusions:

Among 2018 men from a data set enriched for PD, playing organized football was associated with increased odds of having a reported parkinsonism/PD diagnosis. Next steps include examination of the contribution of traumatic brain injury and other sources of RHI (e.g., soccer, military service).

Type
Poster Session 04: Aging | MCI
Copyright
Copyright © INS. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2023