Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Laura Serrano, 43, has fought in 23 bouts and this year is returning to the ring after an absence of several years. She's is participating in a study in which her brain activity will be monitored with yearly tests as she endures the punishment of her sport.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Laura Serrano shadow boxes during a workout at her Las Vegas gym. She's among the first professional fighters to participate in a Cleveland Clinic study that aims to spot indicators of brain damage and improve treatments.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Laura Serrano prepares for a workout at her Las Vegas gym. She worries about the level of medical attention fighters receive. “I remember once in training against a male fighter, he hit me so hard in the temple I felt my body shaking from my head to my toes,” Serrano said. “Horrible, horrible feeling. I realized then, ‘Whoops, this is dangerous. You can die or get brain damage from this.' ”

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Laura Serrano is helped up after an hour-long MRI at the Cleveland Clinic in Las Vegas. She'll also undergo yearly cognitive and speech tests as part of the study.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Imaging specialist Trish Lake walks with boxer Laura Serrano after Serrano's recent MRI.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Neurologist Charles Bernick meets with boxer Laura Serrano in Las Vegas. Of the study he's leading, he says: “The hypothesis is that we will find changes — be it in a brain scan, blood flow, brain fiber sheathing or the size of the brain — that will allow us to establish objective markers for ongoing damage [and] to inform the fighter where he stands."

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Laura Serrano kisses her 2-year-old son Fernando before heading into her gym for a workout.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Laura Serrano works out in Las Vegas recently. She's part of a study of the brains of professional boxers and mixed martial arts fighters. Boxing trainer Freddie Roach, who is based in Hollywood, says: "Something from a high medical authority that can show a boxer's deterioration [and] force guys to retire would be good. That's the only way you're going to get guys to listen."

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Imaging specialist Trish Lake helps up boxer Mike Martinez, 32, after an MRI at the Cleveland Clinic in Las Vegas. Charles Bernick, the neurologist leading the study that Martinez is participating in, says: “We know fighting is not good for your health. We're now just trying to use the technology available to help protect people from a lifetime of dementia, depression or some other chronic residual” effect.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Boxer Mike Martinez, 32, works out at his gym after an MRI at the Cleveland Clinic in Las Vegas.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Boxer Mike Martinez in front of a mural of Rocky Marciano outside his Las Vegas gym. An eye injury has kept Martinez out of boxing for almost five years.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

More galleries on Framework

return to gallery

Studying fighter's brains

Pictures in the News | March 9, 2015

In Monday’s Pictures in the News a border collie named Spring soars as he attempts to catch a Frisbee during a competition at the annual Woofstock 90210 dog show in Beverly...   View Post»

   

Studying fighter's brains

The Week in Pictures | March 17 – 23, 2014

Each week we bring you the very best in visual journalism. Topping this week's news was the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. Members of the Royal Australian Air Force...   View Post»

   

Studying fighter's brains

Pictures in the News | February 10, 2014

Monday's Pictures in the News begins in Sochi, Russia, where U.S. skier Julia Mancuso is shown reacting at the end of the women's Alpine skiing super combined at the Rosa Khutor...   View Post»

   

Studying fighter's brains

Pictures in the News | Nov. 27, 2013

Wednesday's Pictures in the News begins in Southern California, where travelers wait in line to check in for their flights at Los Angeles International Airport. More than 43...   View Post»

   

Comic-Con invades San Diego

Comic-Con invades San Diego Convention Center

Comic-Con International, a celebration of fanboy culture, invades the San Diego Convention Center. Tens of thousands of fans are gathering for all things geek. Toys, comics,...   View Post»

   

Studying fighter's brains

Pictures in the News | Sept. 13, 2011

Highlights in Tuesday's Pictures in the News are photos from Kabul, Afghanistan, where insurgents attacked the U.S. Embassy; from Buenos Aires, where a bus was hit by two...   View Post»

   

Studying fighter's brains

Pictures in the News | May 26, 2011

Thursday's Pictures in the News feature begins in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where flowers are laid on a monument with names of victims of the Srebrenica massacre following the...   View Post»

   

Studying fighter's brains

Pictures in the News | May 9, 2011

In Paris, a visitor examines an installation of "Leviathan" by Indian-born, British-based artist Anish Kapoor, executed in the Nave of the Grand Palais for Monumenta 2011; a...   View Post»

   

Libyan rebels return to Bin Jawwad

Libyan rebels on front line in Bin Jawwad

A gallery of images from the Libyan rebel front, between Bin Jawwad to Ras Lanuf After advancing swiftly westward over the weekend, rebel fighters in Libya were halted...   View Post»

   

Studying fighter's brains

Pictures in the News | Sept. 2, 2010

In today's Pictures in the News we bring you images of rough seas on the Eastern seaboard as Hurricane Earl approaches and a view of the hurricane from space; another offshore...   View Post»

Studying fighter’s brains

A prestigious neurology clinic has launched an unprecedented study of professional fighters’ brains with the goal of advancing research to improve various treatments for brain damage.

“We know what permanent brain damage looks like in its final stages, but we know so little about what causes it and what happens during cumulative trauma,” said Maureen Peckman of the Cleveland Clinic. Peckman is coordinating the new study between the clinic’s Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas and officials with the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

The study hopes to get 500 boxers and mixed martial arts fighters to volunteer for the research project. It is being funded by a grant in excess of $400,000 by billionaire Kirk Kerkorian’s Lincy Foundation.

Participants will undergo four annual MRI brain scans, along with physical, cognitive and speech tests to monitor how brain activity can be altered by suffering head trauma in the ring.

Read the full story by Lance Pugmire: “New study to assess brain damage in professional fighters.”

1 Comment

  1. July 17, 2011, 7:56 pm

    That nose is fake!!

    By: dax

Add a comment or a question.

If you are under 13 years of age you may read this message board, but you may not participate. Here are the full legal terms you agree to by using this comment form.

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they've been approved.

Required

Required, will not be published