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Children Who Suffer Mild Concussions Adversely Affected into Adulthood

Youths who suffer even mild traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are more likely to have serious issues later in life, including psychological disorders and premature mortality, according to a study published by PLOS online.

Patients who had suffered from at least one concussion, or mild TBI, had long term data analyzed by Seena Favel, MD, professor of forensic psychiatry at the University of Oxford and her colleagues. The patients, who were all born between 1973 and 1985, were an average age of 13 years old when they were injured. They were tracked for an average of eight years after reaching age 26.

The research team found that TBI was linked consistently to issues such as psychiatric treatment and low educational achievement as well as premature death. The subjects of the study were also more likely to become dependent on welfare, disability and other forms of public assistance. Those who had TBI showed a 10% chance of being diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder in adulthood along with a 2% chance of premature mortality. The chances of institutionalization or hospitalization for psychiatric disorders were twice as high as for siblings who never experienced TBI. They were also 80% more likely to become dependent on disability compared to their siblings. 

"Given our findings, which indicate potentially causal effects between TBI exposure in childhood and later impairments across a range of health and social outcomes, age-sensitive clinical guidelines should be targeted at children and adolescents," the authors of the study wrote.

Possible Help from Stimulant Drug Treatment

The administering of certain stimulants improved attention for the short term after a single treatment, according to data from a systemic review published in the Annals of Clinical Psychiatry.

A search of major data bases, to identify random trials regarding the use of stimulants for TBI patients, was conducted by researchers from Metro Health. One such study showed a significant improvement in symptoms of depression with methylphenidate. In follow up studies, significant differences were shown in disability ratings, attention, concentration and motor memory 30 days between the administration of methylphenidate and placebos.

The researchers concluded that there was limited evidence to support the use of stimulants for psychiatric symptoms, however, first time indication did show improved attention. There is some promise found in the research so far, but further research is still needed.

The Leading Cause of Disability Among Children

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of disability and death among children and adolescents. The greatest risk lies with two age groups - age 0-4 and age 15-19. Of those ages, 62,000 will suffer brain injuries every year, requiring hospitalization. Children 0-14 average 2,685 deaths annually. The greatest percentage of traumatic brain injuries are traffic and sports related followed by child abuse. Severe or fatal injuries from child abuse, total a shocking 1,300 annually. Those children who survive a traumatic brain injury often face a lifetime of psychological, emotional and physical challenges.

Vititoe Law Group

Vititoe Law Group is committed to halting child abuse and protecting children and adolescents from the life altering consequences of traumatic brain injury. The physical, psychological and financial devastation from a severe brain injury is life altering. Even a so-called "mild" brain injury can have negative effects for years.

If you have a child who suffered a traumatic brain injury and believe it was the result of negligence, reach out to our team of experienced brain injury attorneys for a free evaluation of your case. You may be entitled to a large cash award.

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