THE RECENT DEATH of former middleweight boxing champion Sugar Ray Robinson and data from a small study of retired fighters have renewed speculations of a link between head injury and Alzheimer's disease.
The news of Robinson's death 3 days earlier generated great interest in a report presented at a poster session of the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Chicago, Ill. The Los Angeles County coroner's office had announced that Robinson had died of cardiovascular disease. The death certificate listed Alzheimer's disease and diabetes mellitus as "other conditions present." No autopsy was performed.
The study, conducted by Patricio Reyes, MD, associate professor of neurology at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pa, comprised eight former boxers, aged 69 to 86 years, who had developed signs of confusion, loss of mental acuity, and personality changes and were referred to the dementia clinic that Reyes directs.
Reyes' aim was to track