Brain injuries can cause lingering problems for kids

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Anyone adult who experiences a traumatic brain injury can be left with many questions and frustrations. Yet, for children who have had the same type of injury, their frustrations can be magnified because they may not have the capacity at their young age to comprehend what is happening to them. Columbus residents may be interested in reading about a new study from Australia that shows traumatic brain injuries can cause lasting problems for children.

Conventional wisdom says that children have a better recovery from traumatic brain injuries than adults because their brains are still growing. However, the Australian study indicated children who injure their heads might still end up with lasting problems.

During the 10-year study, researchers worked with 56 kids who suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) between 2 and 7 years of age. The researchers examined the children often. They measured the kids’ social and behavioral skills, as well as their intellectual abilities.

According to a report published in Pediatrics, the study found that the majority of kids with severe brain injuries have long-term problems. Kids with mild TBIs generally recover fully.

Long-term rehabilitation and a supportive home environment seem to be the key for the best possible outcome for kids, the study found. Years after the accident, children can still be rewiring their brains and learning techniques to cope with lingering problems.

The study also seemed to indicate that children with brain injuries often have a lengthy recovery process, but eventually their condition stabilizes and they begin to make developmental gains again.

The new research goes hand-in-hand with what the director of the Center for Brain Injury and Repair at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania sees every day.

He said the type of brain injury also makes a tremendous difference in the prognosis for the child. If the injury is limited to a small portion of the brain, it is easier for the brain to rewire itself than if the entire brain is damaged.

Source: MSNBC, “Kids’ brain injuries can cause lingering problems for years, study finds,” Linda Carroll, Jan. 23, 2012