What do Football and Dogfighting have in common?

Brain damage. In a recent issue of The New Yorker, a “Yuppie” magazine to which I describe, there is a fantastic article on irreversible, irreparable brain damage associated with sports injuries. A few months ago, I posted a similar article from Science. In this particular New Yorker article, the neuroscientists who autopsied the brains of ex-football players/boxers were able to delineate between dementia related to aging/Alzheimer’s and dementia related to chronic head-bashing; the former is characterized by accumulations of both amyloid beta-protein and tau, while the latter is discernible only through tau neurofibrilliary tangles.

But where does dog fighting fit? In addition to dementia, head injuries and  excessive head-bashing (1,000 hits per football season alone!) greatly predispose athletes to substance abuse, depression, and violence. And clearly, it takes a violent person, a person who can dissociate themselves from another’s pain and suffering, to watch two dogs maul each other to the death for money and/or euphoria.

The author of the piece talks about the subject in a captivating slide show that exemplifies the neurodegeneration caused from too many hits in the head.


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