Sex difference in concussion recovery may be explained by delay in seeking specialty care
TUESDAY, Sept. 24, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Young female athletes take longer than young male athletes to recover from sports-related concussion (SRC), according to research published in the September issue of the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine.
Natasha Desai, M.D., from the Columbia University School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues examined characteristics in pediatric athletes with concussion to understand underlying factors that may contribute to prolonged concussion recovery among girls versus boys. They retrospectively reviewed 192 medical records from 75 girls and 117 boys (aged 7 to 18 years old).
The researchers found that girls, on average, presented later to specialty care for evaluation after SRC than boys. Additionally, five markers of recovery were prolonged in girls: time to return to school without accommodations, time to return to noncontact exercise, time to return to full sport, time to recovery of neurocognitive function on computerized testing, and time to clinical recovery of vision and vestibular deficits on examination (e.g., smooth pursuits, saccades, gaze stability, near point of convergence, and balance). When controlling for time to presentation to specialty care, the sex-based differences in recovery disappeared.
“Our results indicate, however, that a modifiable extrinsic factor, time to presentation to specialty care, may contribute to this difference in recovery between the sexes,” the authors write.
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