Men are bigger than women and they have a reputation as being more thick-headed than the females. And here comes the surprise delivered by a new research published in the International Journal of Vehicle Safety: in fact, women have thicker skulls then men!
The team made of researchers from the Ford Motor Co. and Tianjin University of Science and Technology developed a non-invasive method of measuring geometric traits of the human skull. The researchers investigated head scan images of 3,000 patients at the Tianjin Fourth central Hospital (China).
The results amazed them: the average thickness of women's skulls is 7.1 mm (0.28 in), 9 % higher than the average value of 6.5 mm (0.25 in) for men. Still, men's skulls were found to be 3 % larger in front-to-back distance (an average of 6.9 in (176 mm) compared to 6.7 in (171 mm) of the women) and 4 % wider than the female skulls (5.7 in (145 mm) compared to 5.5 in (140 mm)). It also appeared the skulls of both women and men slowly lose thickness after reaching adulthood.
These discoveries will have, beside scientific value, a practical use in designing helmets or other devices that could more effectively protect the head in case of vehicle collisions and other types of accidents.
"Skull thickness differences between genders are confirmed in our study. The next step will be to find out how these differences translate into head impact response of male and female, and then we can design the countermeasure for head protection," said co-author Jesse Ruan, a Ford biomechanics researcher.
"While a thicker skull provides more protection in a head injury, skull shape is also a factor. It will take more research to determine which feature is more important. Reliable biomechanical geometric data of the human skull can help us to better understand the problem of head injury during an impact," wrote the researchers.