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Study looks at reason for TBI differences by sex

Pennsylvania women who have suffered a traumatic brain injury may be more likely to have depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder afterward than men. Researchers have not known why this is the case, but a study funded by the Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences has an answer. The study has found that the key may be a pathway in the brain that is disrupted in women.

The question asked by the researchers was why a brain blast injury affected the neuroendocrine system of men and women in different ways. The nervous and endocrine systems affect all body tissues and may alter metabolism, mood and sleep. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis is the major neuroendocrine system in the body, and researchers did anatomical, behavioral and hormonal studies relating to that system. According to researchers, that system can be disrupted by a TBI, and the way in which this disruption to stress hormones occurs creates an increase in certain behaviors based on a person's sex.

The study is expected to lead to better treatments. Around 1.5 million people are diagnosed with a TBI each year, and it is the most common type of injury in the military.

As this study demonstrates, a brain injury can have long-term consequences. The seriousness of a TBI may not be immediately apparent, or a person may suffer from symptoms that are not initially attributed to the TBI. Because of these complexities, a person who suffers a head injury in a situation in which another party may be responsible might want to consult an attorney. It may be important for a victim to avoid agreeing to a low compensation amount before the full extent of the injury is understood.

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