seX & whY Episode 7 Part 2: Concussions

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Show Notes for Podcast Seven of seX & whY, Part 2

Host: Jeannette Wolfe

Guests:

Dr. Neha Raukar, Emergency and Sports Medicine Physician

Katherine Snedaker, Executive Director of Pink Concussions

Topic: Sex and Gender Differences in Concussions

This is part II of our discussion about concussion with Katherine Snedaker and Neha Rauker.

Today’s podcast focuses on recovery and prevention.

Here are the take home points:

  • Concussion research is rapidly changing, and it is important to stay up to date on the literature
    • There is a large NCAA study whose results should be released soon
  • Concussion treatment has to be individualized as symptoms can vary tremendously both within and between the sexes. Overall, however, women appear to be at greater risk for having an increased clustering of symptoms and a prolonged recovery
  • Cocoon therapy (being isolated in a dark room with no stimulation) is out and has been replaced by the concept of “relative rest” which is the idea that you can do activities that don’t exacerbate symptoms
  • Screen time has pros and cons
    • Cons
      • the contrast of light between the screen and the environment and scrolling can lead to vestibular irritation
      • Much of the activities associated with “screen time” also increase cognitive demands
    • Pros
      • It often helps people stay connected with their social circles which can decrease feelings of isolation and depression
    • The new FDA blood test does not test whether or not someone has a concussion, it tests for specific proteins (UCH-L1 and GFAP) that are released by the brain into the blood after a severe injury and correlates with the likelihood of finding an intracranial bleed on CT.
    • Prevention research and intervention targets multiple different levels including:
      • Overall awareness
      • Equipment- both in design and in proper fit
      • Training of coaches/trainers
      • Rule Enforcement
      • Locker room culture
    • Although sports related concussions get the most press, traumatic brain injuries lead to more than 2.8 million (2013 CDC data) emergency visits per year with car accidents, physical assaults and falls being big contributors.
    • There is currently a large gap in treatment access and ownership for non-sports related TBI

Thank you again to my guests!

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