Gender Differences in TBI

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can be very detrimental to one’s health and wellbeing. Brain injury commonly causes individuals to have cognitive, mental health, and physical complications. TBIs can be caused by contact sport injuries, motor vehicle accidents, birth complications, falls, and situations of violence. 

TBIs can cause disability, illness and death among all people of different age groups.  While a TBI can happen to anyone, men and women experience TBIs differently. For example in men, TBI reports include low levels of trauma symptoms; in women, there are much higher levels of trauma symptoms reported. This can lead to different courses of treatment, as well as treatment outcomes. Currently, many studies that have been conducted on TBI have a male dominant participant pool. Because less is known about how TBI impacts women, researchers aimed to see if there was variation in terms of symptoms and how the disorder displayed itself in males and females. 

Researchers from Boston University, Harvard, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Rush Medical College examined green space and cognition. They studied thousands of middle aged women, and found that closeness to green spaces was associated with quicker thinking skills and stronger levels of concentration. The average age of women studied was 61, and 98% were white. The study was conducted from 2014 to 2016, and the main goal was to analyze participants’ attention, learning, working memory and psychomotor speed. Once the study was completed, researchers were able to come to the conclusion that being exposed to green space did improve psychomotor speed and attention, but they did not find any evidence that stated that working or learning memory were enhanced.

Symptoms in Men and Women

One study conducted at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) examined patients with TBI over the span of a few months. Researchers examined demographic variables as well as imaging findings to examine etiological and demographic characteristics that may impact the severity and experience of brain injury between men and women. Researchers found that young and elderly females were more likely to experience mild head injuries. Elderly females were more likely to have abnormal imaging results, but are less likely to need surgery to treat their brain injury. In comparison to females, males were more likely to experience a brain injury resulting from a motor vehicle accident. Men were also less likely to pass away from experiencing a TBI one year after post-injury. For future studies, researchers would like to analyze more variables that may impact the experience of, treatment, and outcome of experiencing a brain injury between the sexes.

Conclusion

TBIs are devastating events. Researchers have identified key differences that exist in the etiology of TBIs between men and women. For example, men are more likely to have a brain injury resulting from a motor vehicle accident than women. Between the sexes, men are more likely to experience brain injury than women, which may be explained by sex-linked behaviors regarding risk-taking. Women may be less likely to experience brain injury than men, women show more abnormal neuroimaging scans than men indicating higher sustained physical trauma to the brain. While these findings provide researchers with new data, there is still much to be discovered. Understanding the sex differences that exist in the causes, diagnosis, etiology, and treatment of TBI can help lead to improved patient incomes and inform clinical practice.

Source:

Munivenkatappa, A., Agrawal, A., Shukla, D. P., Kumaraswamy, D., & Devi, B. I. (2016). Traumatic brain injury: Does gender influence outcomes? International journal of critical illness and injury science. Retrieved June 28, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4901830/ 

Jenna Doran

Jenna Doran is a rising Senior at Temple University studying English and Psychology. She is very excited to be joining the HappyNeuron Pro team as the Content Marketing Intern this summer. Jenna has completed past internships and held leadership positions in extracurriculars dedicated to mental health and wellness programming and development. She is looking forward to utilizing these skills and working with the team!

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