Medicine: Cauliflower Brains

"He took too many beatings ... that just made him sort of simple."

—The Battler, Ernest Hemingway

With his shuffling gait, slurred speech and foggy memory, the punch-drunk boxer is a stock character in movies and fiction, a mainstay of many a stand-up comic's nightclub routines. But there is nothing funny about the condition some doctors call "dementia pugilistica." Doctors have known for years that a hard blow to the head can slam the jelly-like brain against the rigid skull and cause permanent damage. Now a trio of British researchers has documented just how serious—and how widespread among boxers—this damage is likely...

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