Over the past several years, medical researchers have been focusing their attention on the phenomenon of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), with the most common and mild of these being concussions. Much of this research has focused exclusively on men who have been victims of brain injuries. However, scientists have had growing questions about the effects of blows to the head on women, due in part to the increased rates of concussion among women who play the same sports as men. According to a new study, there are physiological reasons for this higher rate of concussions among women. Read on for more information on women and concussion injuries, and speak with a seasoned Houston accident lawyer after you or a loved one suffer a brain injury.
The Penn Center for Brain Injury and Repair conducted a recent study, which looked at the brain cells of men and women to learn whether there were physiological differences that made concussions more likely to occur. The studies examined neurons in both rat and human brains, focusing in particular on neuronal axons. These long and slender stems branch off from the center of the neuron to serve as a pathway for communication between neurons, shuttling chemical and electrical impulses between cells. Microtubules, which are thin tubes running along the sides of the axon, carry the chemical molecules.
The Penn Center researchers found that the microtubules in women’s brain cells were more fragile and prone to breakage than the sturdier structures in men’s brains, and they broke when exposed to smaller amounts of force than did men’s cells. Neurophysiology researchers have largely concluded that the effects of concussions are the result of the breakage of these microtubules. When the tubes break, the chemicals they carried spill into the brain. This accumulation of chemicals between cells can cause the symptoms associated with concussions, such as dizziness, loss of consciousness, and even damage to the surrounding cells. This research is helpful in understanding why women are more likely to suffer concussions than men, and why those concussions tend to be more severe and longer-lasting. This information may be helpful when seeking to show why a female head injury victim may require a greater amount in damages than a man who injured in a serious car accident, due to longer recovery times and higher treatment costs.