What Is Dementia Pugilistica?

Dementia Pugilistica is a form of dementia that poses a serious long-term threat to individuals involved in contact-heavy sports, or who have sustained multiple concussions throughout their lives.

Similar to Alzheimer’s disease, the condition results in rapid mental deterioration, but only after a latency period of several years.

Dementia Pugilistica (DP), otherwise known as “punch-drunk syndrome” or “boxer’s dementia,” is a form of dementia that originates with repeated concussions or other traumatic blows to the head.

Unsurprisingly, boxers and other professional athletes in aggressive contact sports are the primary victims of DP. It takes a latent period of years, sometimes more than a decade, before symptoms of the condition arise, so it is sometimes hard to diagnose. It is thought that between 15 and 20 percent of professional boxers who take blows to the head regularly will develop DP.