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Parkinson's Disease

Muhammad Ali’s Parkinson’s disease may not be because of boxing

Since the 1980s Ali the boxing legend has been suffering from Parkinson’s disease, assumed widely to have been the result of the blows he took on his head through his illustrious career in the ring. Now, however, his long-time personal physician and Director of the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Centre, Dr Abraham Lieberman has said that this may not be the case after all—meaning that the champion’s neurological problem might have been caused by other factors.

“It is not possible to be entirely sure what caused Ali to suffer from Parkinson’s,” said the doctor recently to BBC. “If you look at his brain’s MRI it looks pretty good so it’s tough say what sort of role did boxing play.” George Foreman received many more blows to the head and has is none the worse for it, the doctor reasoned.

Dr Lieberman forecasted a happy retirement for Ali stressing that, despite some reports, there is no reason to panic over his health. “Other than some trouble in walking he is doing well,” said the doctor. “In fact remarkably well for someone with Parkinson’s for 30 years.’

“I am not sure that he is at any more risk of dying than anyone else his age. In any case, people with Parkinson’s don’t die of Parkinson’s; they develop trouble swallowing and pneumonia and he doesn’t have trouble swallowing. They fall, they bang their head – his family takes extraordinary care of him.”

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