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Most parents know that they need to keep an eye on their kids after a head injury. They know to watch for dizziness and memory problems. But what about lapses in focus? A recent study shows that even minor concussions could cause ADHD in children.
Serious traumatic brain injuries have been connected with all sorts of developmental delays. They can affect memory, coordination, speech, and emotional maturity.
Now a study published in the journal Pediatrics suggests that even mild concussions may be cause for concern. Study researcher Marsh Konigs, a doctoral candidate at VU University Amsterdam in the Netherlands, followed 113 children, ages 6 – 13. One group of the children were the victims of traumatic brain injury, while the other suffered physical trauma elsewhere on their bodies. The head injury subjects were divided into serious and mild traumatic brain injuries.
A year and a half after their accidents, the children with TBI, including those who only suffered mild concussions, had lower I.Q. scores than their counterparts. They also suffered from lapses in attention – the kind associated with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
“Parents, teachers and doctors should be aware that attention impairment after traumatic brain injury can manifest as very short lapses in focus, causing children to be slower.”
The study shows how important it is for parents and teachers to prevent even mild concussions in developing children. Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York in New Hyde Park, N.Y., who was not involved with the research, says:
“This study provides further evidence of the importance of trying to minimize brain trauma, since even when there is no visible damage on CAT scans or MRIs, there can still be a significant adverse effect on attention span and behavior.”
Dr. John Kuluz, a pediatric brain injury specialist at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami recommends avoiding “sensory overload” after a concussion. After a concussion, children can get “overloaded with sensory input from video games, texting and other sources” which can interfere with their school work.
After any kind of head injury, parents should make particular note of changes in attention span and behavior. A serious traumatic brain injury can affect a child for the rest of his or her life. But early intervention can help minimize the effect of a concussion and provide children with their best recovery outcomes.
David Christensen is a brain injury expert at Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan. He and his team represent the victims of traumatic brain injuries resulting from automobile accidents. If you or your child has suffered a serious head injury, contact Christensen Law today for a free consultation.