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URMC study link severity of concussions in females to their periods

Rochester, N.Y. -- University of Rochester senior Allison Bernstein is the goal keeper for the school's soccer team.

I definitely don't remember the moment of impact, Bernstein said.

Although she doesn't remember what exactly happened in September, she said she knows she took a hit, a hard one.

While trying to stop the other team from scoring, she collided with another player.

I couldn't open my eyes because there was a lot of pain, Bernstein said. I just remember lying on the turf and being in pain.

Bernstein said the next day she felt foggy, had terrible headaches and was sensitive to light.

Those are symptoms University of Rochester Medical Center Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Jeffrey Bazarian says intensifies in women.

They take longer to recover and their symptoms are more severe during the time they're recovering.

Dr. Bazarian and his team think it may have something to do with Progesterone, thats a hormone that's at its highest level in the two weeks leading up to a woman's period.

It's produced by the ovaries and signaled by the brain which gives a calming effect.

Dr. Bazarian believes if a woman is hit hard enough, it withdraws the level of the hormone, making the concussion symptoms worse.

If I can take a woman who's been concussed and follow her Progesterone levels every day and see it drop off, so maybe we can do something to keep that level elevated so she won't feel that bad, Dr. Bazarian said. It tells us we got to know more.

Dr. Bazarian and his team are already planning the next phase in research which would test hormone levels.

He said there are studies out there that show that the hormone Progesterone can help treat patients with severe brain injury.

Researchers are now looking at who and how that will help when it comes to female concussions.

Alexis Arnold, 13WHAM-TV
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