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Are Women More Vulnerable to Concussions?

It has nothing to do with a greater likelihood of suffering a blow to the head – a new study from the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Brain Injury and Repair suggests that women may be more vulnerable to concussions due to leaner nerve fibers. In other words, if both a man and a woman suffer a blow to the head at the exact same angle of impact and with the same degree of force, the woman may be more likely to incur a TBI than the man.

Women’s Brain Axons More Likely to Break

In order to come to the conclusion above, scientists conducted a number of tests using both rat and human neural cells. They found that in female brains, brain axons were smaller and more likely to break under force than were male axons.

Axons are important in the brain because they are the parts of the neuron that communicate messages from one cell to another. When the brain is impacted, the axons are stretched. When more force and pressure are applied, the greater the risk that the microtubules of the axons, which are like the train tracks that move molecules up and down the axons, will rupture.

In other words, weaker axons that are more likely to break under force means a greater likelihood that the brain’s communication system will be disrupted. The breaking of the microtubules is associated with the symptoms characterizing concussions.

The Studies

As stated above, researchers conducted multiple tests using male and female human neural cells and rats. When a trauma was sustained, female axons showed significantly more damage after 24 hours than did male axons, including more swelling. This discovery likely explains the fact that for years, researchers have noticed that female athletes have a greater risk of concussions, and less successful rates of recovery following a concussion, than do male athletes. Indeed, women athletes are 50 times more likely to incur a sports-related concussion than are male athletes.

What to Do If You Suffer a Blow to the Head

No matter who you are, your age, or your gender, if you suffer a blow to the head from an object, from hitting your head in a slip and fall, as a result of a car accident or sports injury, or in any other accident type, you should see a doctor immediately to rule out the risk of a concussion. If you do have a concussion, you need to follow your doctor’s prescribed treatment plan, and be especially careful about protecting your head (which may mean refraining from playing any impact sports).

Our Law Firm Is Here To Help

At the law offices of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C., our experienced medical malpractice and brain injury attorneys know that a brain injury could reroute the course of your life. When you call our law firm, we will help you to understand what your options are as they pertain to recovering compensation for your losses. You can schedule a free consultation with our law offices by calling us directly, or sending us a brief message describing your situation using the form found on our website.

Contact us for your consultation (215) 567-3500