One of the most hard-won declarations of civil rights of the past two centuries has been the emergence and emancipation of women as complete equals to men. That being said, while women continue to fight for equality in the workplace and beyond, one area in which they lag behind might be hard to fix: in many cases, women take longer to recover from brain injuries than men.
Why is that? Some recent studies in New Zealand have a clue as to why that may be.
It is vital to stress that these studies are still preliminary and ongoing. That said, there is some evidence to suggest that one possible reason why women may take longer to recover is due to hormones. The hormones produced by biologically female bodies can potentially interfere with some of the chemicals associated with the healing process necessary for recovering from brain injuries. This is one reason why researchers studying this phenomenon are doing so in post-puberty subjects.
Where We Go from Here
So, what can and should we do with this information?
For one thing, we should begin by reaffirming that these studies are ongoing, nothing is certain yet, and differences in recovery time do not affect the personal or legal equality of men and women. That being said, there are tangible reasons to review the ways in which men and women recover differently from brain injuries.
For one thing, knowing how can lead to a greater understanding of why, which can, in turn, enable us to do something about it. Maybe we can use some of the knowledge of how men recover more quickly and use it to help women. If it is a hormonal difference, knowing that we need to account for that chemical difference can get us started down the right track for developing female-specific treatments to help women recover faster.
It is always important to pursue science with the goal of helping one another. These studies can ultimately help us determine how to improve the lives of those facing severe brain injuries – and that is always worthwhile.