This article talks about how headers in soccer affect male and female brains. Michael Lipton, a neuroscientist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, led this research project. He gathered a sample group of 98 athletes who he tested and gathered data from.
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49 were female and 49 were male. All were adults, but they varied in amount of headers they hit in the past year. Previous research states that women take longer to recover from brain injuries than men. They also suffer five times more than males in brain injuries. The article talks about why females are more likely to suffer from brain injuries due to heading the ball than males.
Michael Lipton and his research group used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to look into the heads of the athletes and get a better look at the brain. Magnetic resonance imaging is a machine that works like an transmission electron microscope (TEM), except it uses technology to look inside our body rather than electron beams. MRIs cover a bigger surface. The MRI results stated that females’ white matter regions of their brain signal carriers structure were progressively getting worse.
Whereas, in males there were only three regions whose structures were getting worse. In addition to this, males only had a 400 cubic millimeters average of brain tissue damage. While, females had an average of 2,100 cubic millimeters of damage. The data supports the hypothesis that women suffer more brain damage than males. In addition, females are more prone to brain damage than males.
There isn’t enough scientific evidence to explain why there is a difference between male and female brain damage. However, Michael Lipton has two reasons that may be able to explain why there is a sex difference. Women tend to have less support from the neck to the skull, which in turn means that women have less stability than males. Females usually have less muscle mass than males, that is why they suffer more from whiplash. During certain times in the menstrual cycle, females have less progesterone.
Progesterone is a hormone that helps with swelling in the brain and protection. Therefore, women are more likely to suffer from brain injuries during their menstrual cycle.
Researchers want to continue and see whether or not there will be long term effects to the white matter regions. Since there isn’t enough research and data on this matter, it is highly recommended that extra head protection be worn during games and practice, especially for the youth. This research can lead us into doing more in order to secure the protection of the brain. It is a vital organ, and we must take better care of it.
The way that this article relates to exam two is due to signaling. We learned about cell signaling and receptors. In order for a cell to accept and run through the signal, there must be a receptor to pick up and relay the signal. In addition, we learned about local and long-distance signaling. In the article it talks about progesterone which is a hormone.
I know that hormones are a long-distance signal. The way they travel is by specialized cells releasing the hormone progesterone, and that travels to the target cells through the circulatory system. That is how the brain gets progesterone and is protected from swelling. I also related the TEM to an MRI. I know that they are both different concepts, but they work in a similar way. MRI looks inside your body (brain and intestines), and TEM looks inside a cell (chloroplast and mitochondria). That is how I was able to understand what and MRI is.
I chose to go with an article that talks about the brain. I find it amusing to learn about. There is so much research on the brain, but it is such a complex structure that the current research isn’t enough. We continue to learn more and more about the brain. I love learning about how it works and how there are differences between males and females.
I was also drawn to this article due to the fact that I play soccer. I want to see if I did cause any damage to my brain through soccer. My coaches made us wear headgear during games and practice. It is one of the most uncomfortable things you will ever wear. I never wore it at practice because I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. However now I know the risk involved of not wearing head protection. I am confused on why headgear isn’t mandatory. We aren’t sure of the effects are long term, but when it comes to the brain, I am taking no chances.
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