Adults experiencing severe attention deficit problems, emotional instability, and mild cognitive impairment issues likely had a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a child, a new report has found.
As Reuters reported, medical professionals have long known that children suffering from TBIs are more likely to have attention deficit problems as adults. A new study found that these minor lapses of attention are also related to cognitive problems and prolonged attention impairment issues, and these problems could take a long time to develop.
The study, recently published in the academic journal , was conducted by a team of researchers from Marsh Konigs of VU University Amsterdam in The Netherlands. The researchers looked at 113 children, ages six to 13, who had suffered a TBI (with severity ranging from very mild concussions to instances in which consciousness was lost for more than 30 minutes). This group was compared to 53 children who had suffered trauma unrelated to a head injury.
According to the Washington Post, teachers and parents of the first group of children rated each child for cognitive and behavioral performance 18 months after the injury occurred.
The researchers found an overwhelming pattern of attention problems and cognitive issues in the children who experienced TBI, along with other psychological and behavioral issues such as increased aggression and anxiety.
In the most traumatic situations, a child may have sustained a TBI from an accident or an abusive situation — but parents and teachers often forget that healthy and well-cared for children are susceptible to traumatic injuries as well, primarily through sports.
Regardless of whether a sports-related injury is considered mild or severe, it’s often expensive for parents to treat and it costs kids valuable time in school. In fact, it’s estimated that around 12 million children and young adults (ages five to 22) suffer a sports-related injury at least once a year, and collectively these injuries lead to about 20 million missed school days.
But according to the latest research, the cognitive and behavioral problems that children experience after a TBI may not be a result of missed school days so much as a result of permanent brain damage; medical experts state that if a child is experiencing lapses in attention or slow reflexes a year after the initial TBI occurred, it’s likely that these issues will not go away.