Traumatic Brain Injury Haunts Children For Years With Variety Of Functional Problems
ScienceDaily (May 12, 2009) — Children who suffer traumatic brain injuries can experience lasting or late-appearing neuropsychological problems, highlighting the need for careful watching over time, according to two studies published by the American Psychological Association.
In one study, a team of psychologists used a longitudinal approach to gain a better idea of what to expect after traumatic brain injury (TBI). The researchers found that severe TBI can cause many lasting problems with day-to-day functioning. Some children may recover academically but then start acting up; other children do surprisingly well for unknown reasons.
In the second study, the first systematic meta-analysis summarizing the collective results of many single studies, the researchers found that problems lasted over time and, in some cases, worsened with more serious injury. Some children with severe TBI started to fall even further behind their peers than one would normally expect, in a snowball effect that requires further study.
The Centers for Disease Control in 2000 cited traumatic brain injury as the single most common cause of death and disability in children and adolescents...
Fay et al. Predicting longitudinal patterns of functional deficits in children with traumatic brain injury.. Neuropsychology, 2009; 23 (3): 271 DOI: 10.1037/a0014936
Babikian et al. Neurocognitive outcomes and recovery after pediatric TBI: Meta-analytic review of the literature.. Neuropsychology, 2009; 23 (3): 283 DOI: 10.1037/a0015268
As Science Daily notes, the authors of the second study draw attention to a very important consequence of TBI in very young children:
That makes severe brain injuries at younger ages a "double hazard," the authors noted. Because younger children have more development ahead of them, the same injury can affect a 4-year-old and a 12-year-old very differently. This finding highlights the importance of targeted treatment developed specifically for children with severe TBI.