WASHINGTON Children who suffer traumatic brain injuries can experience lasting or late-appearing neuropsychological problems, highlighting the need for careful watching over time, according to two studies published by the American Psychological Association.
In one study, a team of psychologists used a longitudinal approach to gain a better idea of what to expect after traumatic brain injury (TBI). The researchers found that severe TBI can cause many lasting problems with day-to-day functioning. Some children may recover academically but then start acting up; other children do surprisingly well for unknown reasons.
In the second study, the first systematic meta-analysis summarizing the collective results of many single studies, the researchers found that problems lasted over time and, in some cases, worsened with more serious injury. Some children with severe TBI started to fall even further behind their peers than one would normally expect, in a snowball effect that requires further study.
The results of both studies were reported in the May issue of Neuropsychology, published by the American Psychological Association.
The Centers for Disease Control in 2000 cited traumatic brain injury as the single most common cause of death and disability in children and adolescents.
Long-Term Study Digs Out Individual Differences
In the first study, researchers at The Ohio State University, Case Western Reserve University, and hospitals in Columbus and Cleveland followed 37 children after severe TBI, 40 children after moderate TBI, and 44 children after musculoskeletal injury (a common way to control for trauma and the hospital experience). All of the children were injured between the ages of 6 and 12, and assessed six months, 12 months, and three to five years following their injuries.
As expected, the children with severe brain injuries showed greater problems than children with other in
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American Psychological Association