A recent study published in JAMA Neurology explored whether post-acute mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) symptoms differ between men and women. In this cohort study, a total of 2,000 patients with mild traumatic brain injury (1,331 men and669 women) were included. These mTBI patients were then compared to 299 patients with orthopedic trauma who served as control subjects. The patients were recruited from 18 Level 1 trauma centers and followed for up to 12 months.

The researchers measured outcomes, including the River Mead Post-Concussion Symptoms Questionnaire, a sixteen16-item, self-report scale that assesses post-concussion symptoms severity over the past seven days to pre-injury. The researchers also used the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist, the Patient Health Questionnaire, which measured depression, and the Brief Symptom Inventory, which measured psychological distress.

The researchers concluded the study, “found that women were more vulnerable than men to persistent mTBI-related cognitive and somatic symptoms, whereas no sex difference in symptom burden was seen after an orthopedic injury. Post-concussion symptoms were also worse in women ages 35 – 49 years than in older and younger women, but further investigation is needed to corroborate these findings and identify the mechanism involved. The results suggest that individualized clinical management of mTBI should consider sex and age, as some women are especially predisposed to chronic post-concussion symptoms even 12 months after injury.”