by Cheryl Platzman Weinstock
If there’s a growing consensus that concussions in midlife can be especially serious, there’s also evidence building that not all bumps on the head are the same. Which part of the brain has been injured, the severity of the injury and whether the injured person is a man or woman all appear as important factors, researchers say. “There is ample evidence that females appear more vulnerable to concussion because their brains are structurally different than a man’s,” said neurologist David D. Dodick, a professor at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix. “The wires of a woman’s brain are smaller and thinner and more likely to become injured when they’re hit during a concussion.”…But the biggest effects from concussions later in life may be from inflammation. Inflammation causes the cell proteins metabolized in the brain to become dysregulated and beta-amyloid and tau, two proteins implicated in Alzheimer’s disease, to be deposited in the brain in an abnormal way, Dodick explains. Inflammation and damage to the brain can continue months to years after the injury, depending on how severe it is, he said.
Reach: aarp.org serves as the website for the AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50 and over improve the quality of their lives. The website receives more than 21.9 million unique visitors each month.
Context: David Dodick, M.D. is a Mayo Clinic neurologist.
Contact: Susan Barber Lindquist