A recent edition of Brain Injury Professional is Women vs. Brain Injury which is guest edited by Katherine Snedaker.
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Message from the Editor
As you open this issue of Brain Injury Professional (BIP), you may ask yourself, “Do I need to know about sex or gender differences in brain injury if I treat every one of my patients as an individual? Could brain injury research on the differences in females versus males actually help me with my patients”? I often hear these
questions from medical professionals before I am about to present at a conference. And the answer to both questions is yes! I am confident that the articles assembled in this issue will help you see your patients through a different lens; and in the end, this research will offer you new insights and directions for the way
you manage women and girls in your practice.
For the purposes of this issue, the definition of sex is the biological differences between males and female, including genetic, hormonal and physiological differences. The definition of gender is social construct based upon interpersonal roles or personal identification and is often but not always concordant with biological sex. These terms should not be used interchangeably.
This issue of BIP will explore sex as well as some gender differences in brain injury with a lookback on the history of neurological research as well as a review of the current studies of some of the experts who are leading the way. Too often in the past, research in differences between men and women in brain injury were based on self-reporting and subject to biases in the tests, scales, and researcher interpretation. I would like to share some of the exciting new research which is giving us a picture to clearly show differences – making the invisible injury now visible.
In the field of imaging, we will review the recent work of Dr. Doug Smith and his team on their newfound discovery of sex differences in axonal structure underlying differential outcomes from in vitro traumatic axonal injury. Using ultrastructural analysis, Dr. Smith’s work in both rodents and humans revealed for the
first time that female axons are at greater risk of failure during trauma under the same applied loads than in male axons.
To address the lack of brain research in female veterans, Dr. Maheen Adamson and Dr. Odette Harris have conducted neuroimaging studies using cortical thickness to quantify sex differences after TBI. In addition, despite lower numbers, women in the military have been shown to suffer from unique physical, mental, and functional challenges. This work is very important as more women join the military and more female veterans are accessing healthcare in the VA medical centers, and again is part of this important work of making an invisible injury now visible.
In their research with injured athletes at the University at Buffalo, Drs. Barry Willer and John Leddy will summarize their work on sex differences in sport-related concussion (SRC) and how different recovery protocols seem to improve outcomes. As their research suggests, the oversubscribed prescription of “Total
Rest” of past years may have been particularly harmful to women who were told by their doctors to avoid all physical activity until symptom resolution after concussion.
In cross-section of interpersonal violence (IPV) and brain injury, Dr. Eve Valera reviews her brain injury research on females which dates back to the early 2000s. Her research suggests that IPV related brain injuries and repetitive mTBI in women in violent homes occurs at high rates and is associated with a range
of very negative outcomes.
Also, featured in this issue are several short summaries of recent research as well as an interview with Dr. Angela Colantonio on her leadership role as the Director of the University of Toronto Rehabilitation Sciences Institute, where she and her staff are training the next generation of scientists to integrate sex and gender
considerations in research as well as having launched the abuse and brain injury website tool kit (www.abitoolkit.ca).
I am very honored to be the guest editor and appreciate all the medical professionals and researchers who contributed their work to create this issue. It is my hope that after reading these articles, you do see your patients through a different lens; and in the end, you are inspired to apply this research to help women and
girls in your practice. Thank you for taking the time to read this issue.
About the Editor
Katherine Price Snedaker, LCSW, is the Executive Director and Founder of PINK Concussions, a 501c3 non-profit, which focuses on brain injury in women and girls from sport, domestic violence/ assault, accidents or military service. Since launching PINK Concussions in 2013, Katherine has been an outspoken leader, an international speaker, an award-winning brain injury professional, a researcher published in peer-reviewed journals, and a relentless voice for women and girls with brain injury.
Articles in this issue
Women with Brain Injury: Past, Present and Future
Katherine Price Snedaker, LCSW
Exercise in Concussed Females –
John Leddy, MD, Barry Willer, PhD
Traumatic Brain Injury Among Female Veterans
Maheen Mausoof Adamson, PhD, Odette A. Harris, MD, MPH
Brain Injuries We Overlook: TBIs From Intimate-Partner Violence
Eve M. Valera, PhD
Clarity in Databases to Account for the Global Public Health Epidemic
Jonathan Lifshitz, PhD
Factors Affecting Recovery Trajectories in Pediatric Female Concussion
Christina L. Master, MD, FAAP, CAQSM, FACSM, Natasha Desai, MD, FACEP, CAQSM
Refocusing Care in Girls with Post-concussion Symptoms
Nick Reed, MScOT, PhD, OT Reg (Ont)
Adolescent Females More Likely to be Diagnosed with an Endocrine Disorder After a TBI
J. Bryce Ortiz, PhD
Natural Progression of Symptom Change and Recovery from Concussion in a Pediatric Population
Andrée-Anne Ledoux, PhD
Provider Competencies for Disorders of Consciousness: Minimum Competency Recommendations Proposed by the ACRM-NIDILRR Workgroup
Theresa Bender Pape, MA, CCC-SLP, Dr.PH, FACRM, Nathan D. Zasler, MD, DABPM&R, FAAPM&R, FACRM, BIM-C, CBIST
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