Preliminary evidence for a window of increased vulnerability to sustain a concussion in females: A brief report

Michael F. La Fountaine, Vicci Hill-Lombardi, Asante N. Hohn, Caroline L. Leahy, Anthony J. Testa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

A difference exists between sexes for the incidence of concussion injuries and severity of post-injury outcomes with females having a higher incidence rate (in comparable sports) and experience more robust symptoms than males. The basis for this disparity has remained largely unresolved. Recent findings point to a potential biological mechanism that may be related to the menstrual cycle as an arbiter of post-injury outcomes. What has not been addressed, is whether the phase of menstrual cycle (inferred fluctuations of ovarian hormones) contributes to an increased vulnerability to sustain a concussion injury. This prospective, observational study sought to determine if concussions occurred at different frequencies throughout the phase of the menstrual cycle. Female athletes who sustained a concussion injury were queried three times over the 7-day study (e.g., within 48 h of injury, and 4 and 7 days after injury) to recall the number of days that have elapsed since the beginning of their most recent menstruation. Twenty female athletes enrolled after sustaining a concussion; 18 were eumenorrheic and 2 amenorrheic. Among eumenorrheic participants at the time of injury, 2 were in the follicular phase, 4 were in the early luteal phase and 9 were in the late luteal phase. Two athletes were injured on the first and 1 was injured on the second day of menstruation. The greatest number of concussions were sustained during the late luteal phase and during the first 2 days of menstruation. This 9-day window accounted for 2/3rd of the sustained concussions in our study.

Original languageEnglish
Article number691
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Volume10
Issue numberJUL
DOIs
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Brain injury-traumatic
  • Concussion
  • Luteal phase
  • Menstrual cycle
  • Womens health

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