A new study confirms that traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can have long-lasting
consequences for children, even if the TBI is not particularly severe.
Researchers found that TBI victims often suffer from attention deficits
and emotional problems long after the initial injury.
As we have previously discussed on this San Diego Injury Blog, more than
2.4 million Americans suffer a
traumatic brain injury or TBI each year. Of those that require hospitalization, nearly half suffer
a related disability one year after the TBI.
Many victims of TBIs are children, who are particularly vulnerable to long-lasting
deficits because their brains are still developing. In a recent study,
researchers from VU University Amsterdam in the Netherlands compared children
aged 6 to 13 years who were diagnosed with TBI with children who suffered
a non-head injury.
Approximately one and a half years after the injury, the children were
given the Attention Network Test to assess alerting, orienting, and executive
attention, while parents and teachers performed additional behavioral
assessments. The results revealed that the children who suffered TBIs
had attention and internalizing problems (e.g., anxiety), higher parent
ratings of externalizing problems (e.g., aggression), and lower intelligence
than the non-TBI group.
The study, which was
published in the journal
Pediatrics, also found that the attention lapses and behavioral problems were more
pronounced in children with more severe TBI. Children diagnosed with moderate
to severe TBI, which was defined as losing consciousness for more than
30 minutes and experiencing posttraumatic amnesia for at least an hour,
scored lower on IQ tests and suffered significantly more lapses of attention
than the children with mild TBI.
“The kinds of daily life problems caused by attention deficits, internalizing
behaviors, and externalizing behaviors are numerous and fairly self-evident,”
Dr. Bradley L. Schlaggar, head of the Division of Pediatric and Developmental
Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri,
told Reuters Health. “An impulsive child who is aggressive will have difficulty with
relationships, with school performance, with participation in extracurricular
activities, and so forth.”
If you or a member of your family has suffered from a severe head injury,
you may be entitled to compensation.
experienced San Diego personal injury attorney Robert Vaage
for a free consultation.