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Are women more susceptible to concussion?
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We have known for some time that women athletes tend to have a higher rate of concussion with more serious symptoms than male athletes. We also know that often they take significantly longer to recover from the concussions. What we haven't know is why this seems to be the case.

Symptoms of concussion can range from a mild headache, confusion and dizziness to memory loss, light and noise sensitivity, mood change, and in rare cases death. Some people recover in a period of days while others have symptoms that last a year or longer. A study performed at the University of Rochester found that women of child bearing age tended to have symptoms that are worse three months after injury.

Dr. Jeffrey Bazarian et. al., conducted a study “Sex Differences in Outcome after Mild Traumatic Brain Injury” which estimated the association of sex with outcome after mild concussion. They examined 1425 TBI patients who presented at emergency rooms. They then examined the outcomes of the cases after 3 months looking specifically at post concussive symptoms, number of days to return of normal activities, and number of day s of work missed. After controlling for variable factors they found that women had significantly higher odds of poor outcome after mild TBI compared to men. The peak disability was found in women of child bearing years suggesting that TBI may impact the production of homes acutely after injury, and that this may help find the mechanism behind the poor outcomes. The study also raised questions around the effects of analgesic medications administered acutely after TBI on the recovery of the patient.

Other studies have considered several other explanations for higher rates of concussion. These include women being more forthcoming in discussing symptoms and seeking help, neck structure and brain blood flow, and differences in the axons in the female brain. Women have axons that are more susceptible to damage.

The certainty among all the studies is that women are indeed more susceptible to concussion and its after effects.

Posted on Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 - 10:20:00 AM EST
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