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Study examines long-term effects of a brain injury on attention

While many parents in Massachusetts require that their children wear helmets while biking or roller skating, it is not feasible to wear a helmet as they go through their daily life. The purpose of this protection is to help prevent a brain injury that could potentially affect a child for the rest of his or her life. A recent study has identified long-term effects of such an injury -- effects with which the child will likely have to cope for the rest of his or her life.

The study looked at the differences in attention between children who had suffered a brain injury in comparison to children who suffered an injury to a different area of the body. Specifically, it involved children between the ages of 6 and 13, 113 of whom had suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and 53 who had suffered an injury not involving a TBI. For most participants, approximately a year and a half had passed since the injury occurred.

According to study results, the parents and teachers of children who suffered a TBI indicated that these children had higher levels of aggression as well as attention and internalizing problems, such as anxiety. These children tended to be more aggressive and had a slower processing time. For children with more severe injuries, these symptoms were more pronounced and included lower scores on IQ tests.  One author of the study asserts that because the symptoms lasted more than a year, they were unlikely to improve on their own.

These issues can have a lifelong impact on children. In addition to causing attention issues, those suffering from impulsivity and aggression due to a brain injury may struggle with academics, participation in extracurricular activities and personal relationships. While the treatment for TBIs were not examined, the costs could be more than a family can handle. If such as injury was caused by another's negligence, it may be appropriate to pursue a claim for damages in a Massachusetts civil court. Not only will a successfully presented cause ensure that a person is held responsible for negligent acts -- that resulted in a car accident, for example -- but it can also help ensure that an injured person receives the medical attention needed to properly aid recovery.

Source: Reuters, "Pediatric brain injury may lead to attention problems", Kathryn Doyle, Aug. 3, 2015

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