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Study finds headaches after traumatic brain injury highest in adolescents and girls
Date:12/5/2011

SEATTLE December 5, 2011 More than half a million children in the U.S. sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) every year. Adults who suffer TBI often report headaches afterward, but little is known about how often children suffer headaches after similar injuries. In a significant new study, "Headache After Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury: A Cohort Study," researchers analyzed the prevalence of headaches three and 12 months after mild, moderate or severe TBI in children ages 5 to 17, and discovered the risk of headache was higher in adolescents (ages 13 to 17) and in girls. The study was led by Heidi Blume, MD, MPH, from Seattle Children's Research Institute and principal investigator Fred Rivara, MD, MPH, of Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, University of Washington, and is published online today in Pediatrics.

The study indicates that headache can be a significant problem for some children (ages five to 12 years) after TBI. Three months after a mild TBI, 43 percent of children reported headaches, compared to 37 percent of children who had a moderate to severe TBI, and 26 percent of children in the control group (patients with arm fractures).

Study authors conclude that the response to and recovery from TBI is different for children, adolescents and adults, and that males and females are likely to have different symptoms and recovery. The risk of headache was higher in adolescents and in girls, mirroring a pattern seen in other headache disorders such as migraine. Because of the high number of children suffering TBI every year, the study findings indicate many children and adolescents are suffering from TBI-associated headaches every year.

"Little research has focused on chronic headache post-TBI in children," said Dr. Blume, who is also a University of Washington assistant professor of neurology. "Our findings indicate that many children and adolescents suffer from TBI-associated headaches yearly. In add
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Contact: Mary Guiden
press@seattlechildrens.org
206-987-4500
Seattle Children's
Source:Eurekalert

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