The findings of new research suggest that women who are sexually assaulted are more likely to suffer from a kind of brain injury that has been related to cognitive decline, dementia, and stroke. An increasing amount of research on the long-term effects of sexual assault on the body and psyche is being conducted, as shown by a new study presented Thursday at the American Menopause Society annual conference.
Women Who Have Experienced Sexual Assault May Suffer Subsequent Brain Damage.
A number of previous studies have shown that sexual trauma is associated with greater rates of triglycerides as well as blood pressure in middle age, as well as a three-fold increased chance of acquiring carotid plaque, both of which are important risks factors for cardiovascular disease.
A 2018 research performed by Thurston discovered that women who reported previous sexual assault were 3 times more likely to suffer melancholy and twice as likely to have increased anxiety and sleeplessness as women who did not disclose prior sexual assault.
According to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, depression, anxiety, and sleep problems are all associated with worse health outcomes, including heart disease. As reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every three women in the United States (and one in every four males) will be a victim of sexual assault at some point throughout their lives.
According to Thurston, a woman’s cardiovascular risk should be closely monitored as she matures, who believes that doctors should ask their patients whether they have had any previous sexual trauma.
According to her, women who have been raped abused should feel encouraged to speak out and inform their physicians of their experiences. As Thurston advised, “do not hesitate to communicate this information with your health care professionals.
“According to the findings of the new research, which will be published shortly in the journal Brain Imaging and Behavior, white matter hyperintensities were detected in the brain scans of 145 middle-aged women who had no previous history of heart disease, stroke, or dementia. However, 68 percent of those who took part in the study had suffered trauma, with sexual assault accounting for 23 percent of the women.
Micro-intensities of white matter (white matter hyperintensities), which appear as tiny patches of white on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, are indicators for blood flow abnormalities that have caused damage in the brain. We discovered that women who have experienced sexual assault had higher levels of brain structure hyperintensities inside the brain, which is an indication of small artery disease, which has been related to stroke, dementia, cognition loss, and death,” Thurston said.
A number of additional illnesses and circumstances that may impact the process of white matter hyperintensities were taken into account in the research, including age, hypertension, smoking, and diabetes, among other things. The researchers also took into account the presence of mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
In Thurston’s words, the rise in brain structure hyperintensities “couldn’t be explained by such subjective feelings of anguish.” “As if your body had a memory that is only partially expressing itself in the form of psychological problems. It also leaves traumatic imprints in our minds and bodies as a result of sexual assault.”