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Researchers at the University of Edinburgh looking for ex-professional football players to participate in dementia risk research

Following a successful pilot study supported by PFA Scotland the PREVENT research programme is now looking for additional ex-professional footballers to participate in a study investigating the risk of playing football and developing dementia in the future.

PFA Scotland CEO Fraser Wishart said “It is vital that the union partners with experts to find out more about the relationship between former professional footballers and their increased risk of diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases.

This pilot, funded by PFA Scotland, has proven to be a success and we are delighted that the University of Edinburgh is now expanding its PREVENT research programme.

To do so we need more former players to participate in the research and I simply ask ex professionals considering participating to contact the University researchers direct at”

The research team are hoping to recruit 130 ex-professional football players who have played football at an elite or professional level between the ages of 40-59, with or without a family history of dementia. The aim of the study is to better understand midlife risk factors for developing dementia, with a focus on the role of playing football.

Participants will be required to attend a research centre at the University of Edinburgh for a visit which involves physical health assessments, blood and urine sampling and memory and thinking tasks. A second visit is then required on a separate day for an MRI brain scan and to return some saliva and urine samples. The study takes place at two sites, the main visit day will be done at the Western General Hospital, and the MRI will be at the Royal Infirmary Edinburgh.

Once all baseline assessments are complete participants are asked to return two years later to repeat both the study visit and the MRI scan.

You can find out more about taking part in the study on the PREVENT website: and if you would be interested in hearing more about the study and registering your interest to take part please contact the research team at

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