Brain-Based Biomarkers of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Among Female Athletes: How Does Experiencing a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Affect the Female Brain?

Project: Research project

Project Details


Rates of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) or concussion are elevated among female athletes. Despite increasing concern regarding the effects of mTBI on the brain, very little is known about the effects of mTBI among female athletes. Although a few studies have specifically included females or examined gender differences, to date no published studies have controlled for the effects of menstrual cycle (MC) phase at time of evaluation on brain changes resulting from mTBI. This illustrates how fundamental aspects of gender differences have been ignored in mTBI research. Gender differences and effects of MC phase may explain why mTBI research findings and outcomes vary so widely. Our novel study will fill this knowledge gap by assessing brain changes using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with complementary behavioral assessments of cognition, emotion and reward processing known to be impacted by mTBI. We will complete these assessments after injury among female Northwestern University club athletes and among both collision and non-collision sport control athletes. Injured athletes and their demographically matched controls will be evaluated in the same MC phase. This information will help the medical community, parents and young adults to better understand the effects of mTBI on the female brain.
Effective start/end date9/1/168/31/19


  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital (Agmt 09/01/16)


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