Sexual assault linked to later brain damage in women, study finds
Women who have been sexually assaulted have a higher risk of developing a type of brain damage that has been linked to cognitive decline, dementia and stroke, a new study found.
“It could be either childhood sexual abuse or adult sexual assault,” said study author Rebecca Thurston, a professor and director of the Women’s Biobehavioral Health Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health.
“Based upon population data, most women have their sexual assaults when they are in early adolescence and early adulthood,” she added, “so these are likely early experiences that we’re seeing the marks of later in life.”
The new study, presented Thursday at the annual meeting of the North American Menopause Society, adds to a growing body of research on the long-term impact of sexual assault on the body and the mind.