Invisible Scars: How Domestic Violence Victims Have Been Left Out of the Discussion on Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries are one of the most common injuries in domestic violence, with studies finding that approximately 75 percent of women tested report at least one TBI. These injuries leave invisible scars in the form of memory problems. But despite the large prevalence of TBIs in the population, there is a lack of research, stunted by both funding and a lack of subjects. The trouble with research extends to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative disease caused by repetitive hits to the head. Although domestic violence researchers suggest that the population will develop CTE, which is only diagnosed post-mortem, a lack of donated brains means the disease has yet to be found among domestic violence victims.


Heather Mongilio

About Heather Mongilio

Heather first declared she was going to be a journalist walking home from the bus stop in fifth grade. She grew up in Ellicott City, Maryland, where she first discovered how fascinating the brain is and the adrenaline high from breaking news. After deciding not to choose between her interests, she earned her bachelor’s degree from American University in journalism and psychology. Heather worked at The Eagle, American University’s student-run newspaper and served as editor-in-chief during her senior year. Prior to attending MIT, Heather could be found reporting on murder, domestic violence, drunken driving and other crimes as a crime and courts reporter. She’s always been interested in psychology and medicine, but since working as a crime reporter, Heather has discovered her interest in the science of crime, including the psychology behind criminal acts and domestic violence as a public health concern. Heather is a self-described brain lover, and she enjoys chasing a good story, breaking news, reading, baking and watching the Patriots and the Red Sox.


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