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Severe Brain Injury When Young May Have Long-Term Effects
Date:1/23/2012

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Although many people believe young children are extremely resilient after they are seriously hurt, the opposite may be true with traumatic brain injuries.

Two Australian studies looked at the impact of traumatic brain injury in children as young as 2 years, and found that these injuries affected cognitive function, IQ and even behavior for some time. However, the researchers also found that recovery from traumatic brain injury can continue for years after the initial injury. And, a child's home environment can positively influence recovery if the child lives in a stable, caring home.

"Many people think that the soft skull of a baby may give them some advantage because if they fall they are not likely to sustain a skull fracture. Also, because a baby's brain is growing so quickly, it seems like the brain may be able to fix an injury. In reality, the soft skull and growing brain of a baby put them at a greater risk of future problems," said the lead author of one of the studies, Louise Crowe, a postdoctoral research officer at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute in Melbourne.

"Children with significant head injuries do recover, but they are generally slower to learn concepts, and some high-level skills are often too difficult for them," she added.

Results from both studies were released online Jan. 23 and are scheduled to appear in the February issue of Pediatrics.

By age 16, at least one in 30 children will experience a traumatic brain injury, according to background information in one of the studies. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) occur after a blow or bump to the head, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Young children -- those under 4 years old -- are particularly at risk of experiencing a traumatic brain injury, according to the CDC. Such injuries can occur from a fall, a car
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