Many West Virginia armed forces veterans are aware of the traumatic brain injuries that explosions in war zones can inflict on military personnel. Uniformed Services University researchers have been studying the effect of head trauma on the neuroendocrine system and the differing responses of men and women, and the results will be presented at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society. The findings could improve care for veterans and apply to victims of car accidents and sports injuries too.
The study focused on the interaction between the endocrine and nervous systems because it influences almost all bodily tissues. Changes in the nervous system influence the production of hormones by the endocrine system. Damaged hormonal responses result in sleep problems, mood disorders like anxiety and changes in metabolism. Analyses of the anatomy, behavior and hormones of blast victims conducted by the research team measured the health of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.
The researchers discovered that the hormonal response to brain injury for women differs from men. It alters stress hormones in women and produces anxiety. With a greater understanding of the how head trauma impacts the endocrine system, the lead author hopes to open a path to better treatment of individuals suffering from traumatic brain injuries.
People who have received a bad blow to the head might not immediately be aware of the impacts on their physical and mental health. There might be delayed brain damage, for example. People who have been injured in such a manner in an accident caused by the negligence of another party might want to meet with an attorney to learn the particulars of the applicable statute of limitations and how it might affect the amount of damages sought in a subsequent lawsuit.