Int J Sports Med 2019; 40(13): 856-862
DOI: 10.1055/a-0958-9548
Clinical Sciences
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

MRI Brain Changes After Marathon Running: Results of the Berlin Beat of Running Study

Juliane Herm
1  Department of Neurology, Charité, Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany
2  Center for Stroke Research, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany
,
Karl Georg Haeusler
3  Department of Neurology, Universitätsklinikum Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany
,
Claudia Kunze
2  Center for Stroke Research, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany
,
Matthias Krüll
4  SMS Medical Institute Berlin GmbH, Berlin, Germany
5  SCC EVENTS GmbH, Berlin, Germany
,
Lars Brechtel
6  Carl Remigius Medical School, Physician Assistance, Hamburg, Germany
7  Berlin Academy of Sports Medicine, Sports Medicine, Berlin, Germany
,
Jürgen Lock
4  SMS Medical Institute Berlin GmbH, Berlin, Germany
5  SCC EVENTS GmbH, Berlin, Germany
,
Peter U. Heuschmann
8  Institute of Clinical Epidemiology and Biometry, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany
9  Clinical Trial Center Würzburg, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany
10  Comprehensive Heart Failure Center, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany
,
Wilhelm Haverkamp
11  Department of Cardiology, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Virchow-Klinikum, Berlin, Germany
,
Hauke Heekeren
12  Department of Education and Psychology, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany
,
Thomas Liman
1  Department of Neurology, Charité, Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany
2  Center for Stroke Research, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany
,
Matthias Endres
1  Department of Neurology, Charité, Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany
2  Center for Stroke Research, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany
13  Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Berlin, Germany
14  Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Excellence Cluster NeuroCure, Berlin, Germany
15  German Center for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK), Berlin, Germany
,
Jochen B. Fiebach*
2  Center for Stroke Research, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany
,
Gerhard Jan Jungehulsing*
16  Department of Neurology, Jüdisches Krankenhaus Berlin, Berlin, Germany
› Author Affiliations
Funding: The investigator-initiated Berlin Beat of Running Study was supported by the SCC EVENTS GmbH, Berlin and by an unrestricted study grant from Bayer HealthCare and Sanofi. The GETEMED AG (Teltow, Germany) provided the ECG-recorders and comprehensive technical support. KGH, JH, CK, JBF, ME and GJJ received funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research via the grant Center for Stroke Research Berlin (01 EO 0801). ME receives support from the Volkswagen-Stiftung. ME recieved funding from the German Research Foundation.

Clinical Trials Registration: clinicaltrials.gov NCT01428778
Further Information

Publication History



accepted 04 June 2019

Publication Date:
10 September 2019 (online)

Abstract

Several studies report neurological complications such as brain injury induced by ischemia or edema following exhaustive endurance sport. We aimed to detect the frequency of acute brain lesions after a marathon race. In the prospective observational Berlin Beat of Running study, 110 experienced endurance athletes underwent 3-Tesla brain MRI exams 2–3 days prior and within 2 days after a marathon run. MRI results were compared to an age- and sex-matched control group of 68 non-athletes, including the “Age-Related White Matter Changes” (ARWMC) scale to assess white matter lesions (WML) in the brain. 108 athletes (median age 48 years, 24% female, 8% with hypertension; 0% with diabetes) completed the race. No athlete reported neurological deficits, but a single acute ischemic lesion was detected in diffusion-weighted MRI after the race in one athlete. No other acute brain lesions compared to prior MRI were found. An ARWMC score ≥4 was found in 15% of athletes and 12% of non-athletic controls (p=0.7). Chronic ischemic lesions were not found in athletes but in four controls (6%) (p=0.02). In conclusion, acute ischemic brain lesions may be found in endurance runners. Every seventh endurance athlete and every ninth control showed evidence for substantial white matter lesions.

* Authors contributed equally.