Concussions are one of the most common forms of neuro injuries around the world. A severe blow to the head could seriously hamper the way your head functions. For years, this injury has been associated with sports like football which require a player to physically use their head or in combat sports.
They are also known as mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI).
However, new research suggests that the severity of your concussion might also be dependent upon your sex identity. Let’s explore why this happens and what perpetuated the misinformation.
WHY ARE WOMEN MORE PRONE TO CONCUSSIONS?
Three main theories are propounded for why women’s concussions and their susceptibility is more.
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The first one is related more to the makeup of the female body. Some researchers have proposed that it may be due to the fact that female necks tend to be slimmer and less muscular than male ones.
Remember that the brain is free to move within the skull – it is like jelly tightly packed into a Tupperware container – and this means that any sharp movement of the head can cause it to shift around, potentially causing damage.
Overall, the girth of a female neck is about 30 per cent smaller than a male, and this increases the potential acceleration of the head by as much as 50 per cent, according to one study.
The second idea that researchers have pointed to is some small anatomical differences within the brain itself. Female brains are thought to have slightly faster metabolisms than male ones. They also have greater blood flow to the head: essentially, they are slightly hungrier. And if a head injury momentarily disrupts that supply of glucose and oxygen, it could cause greater damage.
The third possibility lies in female sex hormones. Some striking evidence suggests that the risk of concussion changes with varying hormone levels during the menstrual cycle.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
For centuries, female concussions have been prioritized less because of the narrativization around their injuries. Research suggests that women were more likely to be given sedatives in hospitals rather than painkillers.
This was precisely because it is assumed that their injuries will be emotional and not physiological. Additionally, concussion tests on women have been a rarity throughout day and age.
The next step is to prop up research and ensure that women get not just timely but preferential treatment while curing concussions and while suggesting any kind of medication required.