A gene mutation implicated in the risk for Alzheimer’s disease might also impair memory in soccer players who head the ball a lot, a new study suggests.
The finding could have implications for young athletes in contact sports where the head can take hits during play.
Among soccer players who headed the ball the most, those with the gene mutation called the apolipoprotein E epsilon4 (APOE e4) allele did four times worse on memory tests than those who head the ball the least, the researchers found.
“This is important because heading is generally seen as inconsequential,” said lead researcher Dr. Michael Lipton, a professor of radiology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.
“Most people have relatively modest exposure and don’t seem to be adversely affected. It’s really whether you have