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Menstrual cycle influences concussion outcomes
Date:11/13/2013

How well a woman recovers from a concussion may depend on that time of the month.

Researchers found that women injured during the two weeks leading up to their period (the premenstrual phase) had a slower recovery and poorer health one month after injury compared to women injured during the two weeks directly after their period or women taking birth control pills.

The University of Rochester study was published today in the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. If confirmed in subsequent research, the findings could alter the treatment and prognosis of women who suffer head injuries from sports, falls, car accidents or combat.

Several recent studies have confirmed what women and their physicians anecdotally have known for years: Women experience greater cognitive decline, poorer reaction times, more headaches, extended periods of depression, longer hospital stays and delayed return-to-work compared to men following head injury. Such results are particularly pronounced in women of childbearing age; girls who have not started their period and post-menopausal women have outcomes similar to men.

Few studies have explored why such differences occur, but senior author Jeffrey J. Bazarian, M.D., M.P.H. says it stands to reason that sex hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, which are highest in women of childbearing age, may play a role.

"I don't think doctors consider menstrual history when evaluating a patient after a concussion, but maybe we should," noted Bazarian, associate professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry who treats patients and conducts research on traumatic brain injury and long-term outcomes among athletes. "By taking into account the stage of their cycle at the time of injury we could better identify patients who might need more aggressive monitoring or treatment. It would also allow us to counsel women that they're more or less likely
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Contact: Emily Boynton
emily_boynton@urmc.rochester.edu
585-273-1757
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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