Women more likely to have memory problems after concussions
Women are more likely than men to develop memory problems and other complications following a concussion, according to a new study from Taipei Medical University in Taiwan.
While the majority of people fully recover from concussions within three months, about 10 to 15 percent continue to experience problems for a more extended period of time. The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to observe the brain activity of 15 men and 15 women with recent concussions--as well as the brain activity of 15 men and 15 women who didn’t have concussions--as they performed memory tasks.
The participants’ brains were analyzed one month after injury and six weeks later. The memory tasks included a digit span test to assess the ability to remember a sequence of numbers, and a continuous performance test (CPT) to measure sustained and selective attention. The results, published in the journal Radiology, found that after the first fMRI test, men showed increased working memory activity, while women showed reduced working memory activity.
The results of the follow-up fMRI showed that the men with concussions had a working memory on par with the control patients, while the women with concussions showed ongoing reduction in working memory. The women also had lower scores on the digit span test than women in the control group.
The findings suggest that gender may be a risk factor for concussions, and minor traumatic brain injury in female patients may require more aggressive treatment.