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“Pediatric brain injury may lead to attention problems” says research

For many years now there has been research carried out into the possible long term and lasting effects of children and adults that have experienced a major brain trauma. The current observations and studies have shown that there may be a link between major brain trauma and attention levels. This also links to the possibility of conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders (ADHD), being a long term effect of such injuries.

Although these findings are still being established and peer reviewed, there is some evidence to suggest that ADHD is not so much caused by environmental factors, but also by serious brain injuries too.

According to experts, children with traumatic brain injuries have more lapses in attention and take longer to react in situations than children who have suffered an injury in other parts of their bodies.

A study into attention and brain injuries was carried out by author Marsh Konigs, of VU University of Amsterdam. His team compared 113 children, ages 6 to 13 years old, who had suffered a traumatic brain injury, and 53 children who suffered a non head related injury.

Around one and a half years after the child suffered the injury, parents and teachers rated their child’s health and attention. The findings from this were that those children who had suffered head or brain injury were experiencing more problems with their attention as well as other internalising problems like anxiety, than was the case for children who had suffered other non-head related injury.

This is certainly not the first study on brain injuries and attention but Marsh’s research is the first study to show that children who suffer brain injuries can experience lapses of attention that may be related to intelligence and attention problems.

We know from vast research that attention capabilities can be lost when an adult or child has suffered a major head trauma. According to the charity Headway, cognitive affects on the brain after an injury can involve attention and concentration problems. Concentration and attention problems were seen as short term effects after a brain injury in many cases but research, such as Marsh’s, may question theories into other lasting effects that a person can experience many years after there initial injury.

Serious brain trauma and its link to ADHD

The study into whether attention is affected by brain injuries also links to the condition Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). According to Psychcentral, ADHD can be linked to brain injuries suffered by a child at a young age. ADHD can also be seen in adult cases but usually many years after their injury occurred, however this is only seen in a very small minority of children and adults. This means that brain injuries can cause ADHD-like symptoms in previously unaffected people, partly due to frontal lobe damage. The Washington Post also wrote about Marsh Konigs study, stating how that his findings, based on a study of adults, seemed to confirm the theories of many doctors, that there is an association between head injuries in children and a secondary Attention Deficit Hyperactivty Disorder following the original injury.”

How can this affect someone’s life?

In 2013, Health Day reporter Maureen Salamon suggested that children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder should be discouraged from playing contact sports such as football or rugby. This is because these children may be at greater risk of long term head injuries than their peers would be.

Although the study of ADHD and its link to brain injury is highly debated, there are not many studies that have found absolute clear links between the two.  There is, however, no denying that many health professionals believe that there is a link, but only in unique cases, as the most common cause of ADHD is due to environmental factors, such as being exposed to hazardous substances, like lead and genetic make up.

When looking into this research we also have to consider the seriousness of a traumatic brain injury and the affect it can have on children and adults. As a traumatic brain injury can be life threatening and can cause long term complications. In some cases injuries may be caused by no fault of your own which is featured in the news frequently. So by this let’s hope that research and studies are continued in this area of medical science to assure better practices and knowledge into the long term effects of traumatic brain injuries.

Sincere Law specialise in injuries such as traumatic brain injury and, in the instance where it was caused by somebody elses negligence, we can help the victim and their family get the justice and compensation they deserve for their injury. To find out more, contact us on 0800 092 2896 or visit our brain injury page.