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April 1959

Cerebral Atrophy Associated with Boxing

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Pathology, University of Colorado School of Medicine.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1959;81(4):403-408. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1959.02340160001001

In an article published several years ago in a popular magazine, Blitman1 described the mental status of former boxers. He drew on his personal experience; he knew "what it means to be punch drunk." He vividly depicted momentary loss of coordination, brief mental black-outs, sudden waves of anger, lapses of memory, trembling hands, sharp headaches, dizzy spells, sudden jerkiness, uncontrollable shaking of the head, and ringing in the ears. The author was "one of the lucky ones," however; he "came back almost all the way physically," and his "mind remained whole." But he emphasized that "there are other men who have trouble holding onto the most menial of jobs," owing to steadily progressive physical, nervous, and mental deterioration.

More recently, Critchley2 reviewed the older literature and detailed the neurologic aspects of boxing, dealing especially with "the phenomenon of groggy states as apparent during or after a contest; and

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