TORONTO, April 27 /CNW/ - One of the world's top neuroscience institutes
has teamed up with the NHL Alumni on a study that will track the brain
health of retired NHL players over several years.
Toronto's Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest announced today it is
recruiting healthy retired players to participate in a research study
to identify the risk factors associated with cognitive decline and
mental health changes as they age.
The announcement comes as Toronto gears up for the 6th Annual Scotiabank Pro-Am Hockey Tournament (May 5-7) which pairs
retired NHL players with amateur adult teams in the community to raise
funds for Alzheimer's care and research.
"Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute is one of the best in the world
for studying the aging brain," said Mark Napier, executive director of
the NHL Alumni.
"As former players from a high impact sport, we are very interested in
contributing to research that will help illuminate the different
factors that influence the aging process, particularly around brain
health and the development of dementia. We are hoping that the findings
from this study will have wider implications for all aging adults."
NHL alumni will undergo comprehensive cognitive testing to establish
baseline mental status, lifestyle habits such as substance abuse,
chronic health conditions such as diabetes, and a detailed concussion
history. They will also have their brains scanned with state-of-the-art
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at Baycrest. Blood and cerebrospinal
fluid samples will be collected to examine biomarkers, including
genetic risk factors associated with dementia.
Family members and friends of the players will be recruited to form an
age-and-education-matched comparison group that will undergo the same
assessment procedure. This comparison group is crucial to isolate the
brain health factors that may be specific to the NHL alumni, as opposed
to those that are present in the general population. Followup cognitive
testing and structural brain scanning (with MRI) will take place every
"In head injury, teasing apart the contribution of genetics and other
health factors to aging and brain function is a great challenge," said
principal investigator Dr. Brian Levine, a senior scientist with
Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute and expert in head trauma and
"By comprehensively assessing both the players and matched comparison
subjects, we hope to better understand this process. This study will
help us to understand the aging brain not only in professional
athletes, but in the population at large."
A portion of the proceeds from next week's 6th Annual Scotiabank Pro-Am
Hockey Tournament, in support of the Gordie & Colleen Howe Fund for
Alzheimer's at Baycrest, will help fund the Baycrest-NHL Alumni brain
A health sciences centre affiliated with the University of Toronto,
Baycrest's internationally-renowned scientific research and clinical
practice is dedicated to transforming the journey of aging.
SOURCE Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care
For further information:
To arrange phone interviews with Mark Napier and senior scientist Dr. Brian Levine, please contact:
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