Males develop concussion symptoms faster than women, but also heal more quickly
New research from the University of Victoria provides the latest evidence that there is a profound difference in the way concussions affect women compared to men.
The latest findings, by neuroscientists Brian Christie and colleagues, have demonstrated that while men are more likely to exhibit concussion symptoms soon after an injury, women were more likely to report longer-lasting concussion effects.
The new report came about as the result of a project by Christie to develop a controlled test called the Awake Closed Head Injury test, which studied the effects of mild impacts on juvenile rats. While evaluating the project, the team found that female rats took longer to develop symptoms but showed concussion symptoms significantly longer than males. In turn, the male rats developed concussion symptoms soon after the injury which subsided relatively quickly.
While the findings could provide the basis for more testing which could develop unique concussion treatment strategies and therapies, Christie says the process is difficult.
“One of the problems with testing concussions is getting a controlled sample, and conducting them humanely on living specimens,” Christie said.
While it would be ideal to study the effects of concussions in humans, creating a controlled sample of concussed individuals would be unethical.
Nonetheless, Christie’s latest work was able to clearly show that “males tend to show acute symptoms right away, but they also seem to recovery fairly, quickly,” the researchers wrote. “Conversely, females don’t show as significant behavioral symptoms in the acute phase, but they do a few days later.”
“This suggests a slower, more progressive nature to their injury,” the team concluded in their report published in the journal PLOS One.