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The truth about boxers and brain damage

Also in our Barometer column: the BBC’s ethnic make-up, Euro champions and Swiss referendums

11 June 2016

9:00 AM

11 June 2016

9:00 AM

Boxing brains

Muhammad Ali died aged 74, after more than 30 years with Parkinson’s Disease. How many boxers suffer brain damage?

— A 1969 study by A.H. Roberts examined 250 retired boxers and found 17% had lesions of the nervous system.

Many had started out in the 1930s, when a professional boxing career could involve over 300 bouts; it’s fewer than 20 now.

— However, brain examinations are now much more sensitive. A 2012 study by the University of Gothenburg of 30 Swedish boxers found that 80% had protein changes indicating brain damage.

Hideously white?

A BBC memo revealed it was seeking an ‘ethnically diverse’ presenter with a ‘northern accent’. This was the make-up of the BBC’s 19,451 staff by broad ethnic grouping when disclosed in 2011:

White 16,064 (83%)
Asian 931 (4.7%)
Black 500 (2.5%)
Middle Near Eastern 373 (1.9%)
Chinese 106 (0.5%)


The European question

Which country has the best record in the European football championship?

Wins Runners up
3 Germany / West Germany 3
3 Spain 1
2 France 0
1 Soviet Union / Russia 3
1 Italy 2
1 Czechoslovakia / Czech Rep. 1

Vote early, vote often

The Swiss voted to reject a guaranteed income for all citizens by 77% to 23%. If you find referendums a bore, don’t go to Switzerland: they have already had nine this year. The others were:

— To prohibit discrimination in taxes for married couples. Rejected 51% to 49%

— Automatic deportation for foreign criminals. Rejected 59% to 41%

— To ban speculation in food prices. Rejected 60% to 40%

— To build a second St Gotthard road tunnel. Approved 57% to 43%

— Revenue from fuel taxes only to be spent on the roads. Rejected 71% to 29%

— To impose a ban on public services being run for profit. Rejected 68% to 32%

— To allow pre-implantation genetic diagnosis of heritable diseases in embryos. Approved 62% to 38%

— To speed up asylum process and give extra rights to applicants. Approved 67% to 33%

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