EDIT: nm, I did it anyway.
Heading a football may look effortless but many scientists have suspected it might actually harm the player's brain.
We must now investigate whether these effects remain temporary after repeated football heading exposure and what the long-term consequences on brain health are.
Much of what we know about the brain is based on research on the mature brain, but the human brain is not fully developed until our early twenties.
In the teenage years brain chemicals are in a state of flux and the brain is very sensitive in lots of ways.
In particular we look at the brain signalling chemical called GABA, which is the most powerful inhibitor in the brain's motor system.
If there is more inhibition in the brain it means that the normal brain chemistry is changed after hitting the ball with the head. We asked a group of football players to head a ball 20 times, fired from a ball machine to simulate the pace and power of a corner kick.
Heading a football seems to release the inhibitory brain chemical GABA. Author provided Now that we know that heading a football changes the biochemistry of the brain, at least temporary, we would like to visualise the effects of heading by using a brain scanner.
In a brain scanner we can see how micro-damage to brain structure and brain connections relates to changes in the biochemistry of the brain.
One header is unlikely to give you brain damage, but how many headers do? At what levels of exposure do we enter the grey zone? It is perhaps a bit like alcohol, there are no known safe limits for alcohol consumption.
Disrupting the brain chemistry during brain development until late adolescence may warrant extra caution.
From this we can work out the level of "inhibitory chemicals" in the brain.
Increased inhibition in the brain was detected after just a single session of heading.
The good news is that these changes in brain function were transient, with effects normalising within 24 hours.
Now that we know that heading a football changes the biochemistry of the brain, at least temporary, we would like to visualise the effects of heading by using a brain scanner.
The research we have done is just a first step on the journey of finding out what is the true impact of football heading.
I must shamefully admit that I never read raw articles anymore. Everything goes through SMMRY.
We've recently started working with the Stride.ai API (http://stride.ai/) and the results definitely stand out from some of the classic algorithms.