Dementia Pugilistica

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Dementia pugilistica--also called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, pugilistic Parkinson's syndrome, boxer's syndrome, and "punch-drunk" syndrome--is a neurological disorder which affects career boxers and others who receive multiple dazing blows to the head. The condition develops over a period of years, with the average time of onset being about 16 years after the start of a career in boxing.

The condition, which occurs in people who have suffered multiple concussions, commonly manifests as dementia, or declining mental ability, and Parkinsonism, or tremors and lack of coordination. It can also cause unsteady gait, inappropriate behavior, and speech problems.

It is not well understood why this syndrome occurs (Drake and Cifu, 2004). Loss of neurons, scarring of brain tissue, collection of proteinaceous plaques, and damage to the cerebellum are implicated in the syndrome, which may be etiologically related to Alzheimer's disease (Graham and Gennareli, 2000).

Notable Sufferers


  1. Drake D and Cifu D. 2004. "Repetitive Head Injury Syndrome."
  2. Graham DI and Gennareli TA. Chapter 5, "Pathology of Brain Damage After Head Injury" In, Cooper P and Golfinos G. 2000. Head Injury, 4th Ed. Morgan Hill, New York.
  3. NCERx. 2005. Brain Trauma, Subdural Hematoma and Dementia Pugilistica.
  4. This article borrows from the main Wikipedia article. [15]