Why Are Women Being Left Out Of Brain Injury Research?
There is plenty of evidence suggesting women are more vulnerable to concussions and may even respond differently to traumatic brain injury, but you wouldn’t realize that by looking at most studies on brain injury.
STAT News recently explored why women are woefully underrepresented in brain injury research despite higher concussion rates and more severe and persistent symptoms.
“If concussion is the invisible injury, then females are the invisible population within that injury,” Katherine Snedaker, the founder of the nonprofit PINK Concussions, told Usha Lee McFarling recently.
Many believe the response to traumatic brain injury in females is unique enough from males to warrant gender-specific treatment, but studies often recruit only male football players. Similarly, nearly all the brains donated to brain banks devoted to researching traumatic brain injury and chronic traumatic encephalopathy are male.
“It’s an incredible gap in our knowledge,” said Angela Colantonio, director of the Rehabilitation Science Institute at the University of Toronto. “It’s just not acceptable.”