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Teens May Fare Worse After Concussion Than Children or Adults
Date:2/28/2012

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Feb. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Teenagers who suffer a concussion are more sensitive than adults or children to its aftereffects, Canadian researchers report.

Concussions can affect short-term memory in adolescents, which is essential for reading and calculating, and those effects can last for six months or longer, the study authors found.

"Contrary to the belief by some parents and coaches that children can play through a concussion because their brains are more resilient, we find that children are more vulnerable to the effects of a brain injury than adults," said lead researcher Dave Ellemberg, a neuropsychologist at the University of Montreal.

And, teenagers suffer greater symptoms than either children or adults, he added.

"It's not that surprising," Ellemberg noted. "We know the adolescent's brain, more specifically the areas affected by the concussion, the frontal lobe areas of the brain, are growing in spurts and when something is developing rapidly it is even more fragile to injury."

The report was published Feb. 28 in the journal Brain Injury.

To come to its conclusions, Ellemberg's team worked with 96 male athletes who had suffered a concussion three to nine months before testing. The athletes were divided into three groups: adults (30), kids aged 9 to 12 (32) and teens aged 13 to 16 (34). These athletes were then compared with similar people who had not had a concussion.

All of the study participants were given neuropsychological tests used by the U.S. National Hockey League. The researchers then compared the results of those tests with the results of electrophysical evaluations that measured working memory, attention and inhibition while participants worked on a computer. Electrophysical tests are considered more sensitive than neuropsychological screens, the study authors noted.

The researchers found all the athletes who
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