An interesting study set out to determine whether a child’s home environment has an effect on the child’s recovery from a traumatic brain injury. Children aged 6 to 12 years of age were studied at baseline and again at 6 and 12 months after injury. The study’s conclusion? Family environment has a very consistent and important effect on a child’s recovery from traumatic brain injury. “In some cases, the preinjury family environment was a significant moderator of the effect of TBI, buffering its impact in high-functioning families and exacerbating it in low-functioning families”.
Source: Drotar, D., Klein, S., Schatschneider, C., Stancin, T., Taylor, H., Wade, S. & Yeates, K (1997). Preinjury family environment as a determinant of recovery from traumatic brain injuries in school-age children. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 3, p. 617-630.
Traumatic Brain Injury the “Signature Injury” of the Iraq War Many soldiers suffer from blast injuries during their deployments to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, resulting in mild concussion. Results of concussion can linger long after soldiers return home. The Pentagon estimates that 20% of combat veterans have suffered at lest one concussion. Many of these soldiers receive inadequate or no treatment for these injuries, and return home still suffering the after-effects, such as memory loss, headaches, mood swings, dizziness, hearing problems, and light sensitivity. These symptoms may be mistaken for symptoms of PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder). Part of the problem is that medical professionals know little about the effects on the brain from blast injuries, as their experience is generally restricted to victims of motor vehicle accidents, falls, and bullet wounds.
Alvarez, L. (August, 2008) War Veterans’ Concussions are Often Overlooked. New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/26/us/26tbi.phpl?_r=1&oref=slogin
Mental illness as a result of traumatic brain injury may occur in 1 in 5 teens who are delinquent. A new study finds these teens are more likely to abuse substances, suffer from suicidal tendencies, and indulge in criminal behaviour at earlier ages than teens not affected by brain injury.
Boys were ay higher risk for traumatic brain injury than girls.
“Mental Problems among Delinquent Teens” Sept.30/2008
Following TBI, patients should be given nutritional supplementation through a gastric feeding tube as soon as is reasonably possible. This may increase chances of survival four-fold. The study was the largest ever undertaken to study nutrition and survival following TBI.
“Following Traumatic Brain Injury, Balanced Nutrition Saves Lives” July 1/2008
Soldiers who experience mild traumatic brain injury while serving in Iraq are more likely to suffer posttraumatic stress disorder and physical health problems in the first three to four months after returning home.
It was found that there are strong relationships between mild TBI, PTSD, depression, and physical health problems. The article stresses being careful not to attribute impairment after mild TBI to a neurological problem rather than psychological stress.
“PTSD Common in Soldiers with Mild Brain Injury” March 1/2008 Clinical Psychiatry News.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Does Decreased Body Temperature Improve Outcomes in Children with Traumatic Brain Injury?
Researchers undertook a study to determine if hypothermia therapy could improve neurologic outcomes and mortality (death) among children with severe traumatic brain injury.
Children were randomly assigned to either hypothermia therapy initiated within 8 hours of injury, or to a normothermia group.
It was found that hypothermia therapy commenced within 8 hours of the injury and continued for 24 hours did not improve neurologic outcomes and perhaps increased mortality.
Source: Hypothermia Therapy after Traumatic Brain Injury in Children. (2008, June 5) New England Journal of Medicine, 358(23), p. 2447-2456.
Patients Who Suffer a Brain Injury May Use More of their Brains
Researchers have found that patients may need to use more of their brain after recovering from a head trauma.
Drs. Turner and Levine conducted a study on eight patients who suffered a moderate-to-severe diffuse axonal injury following motor vehicle accidents. All patients had fully recovered.
The patients were required to perform various tasks while undergoing MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). Tasks included maintaining or alphabetizing a set of letters. Their brain activity was then compared to twelve healthy control participants.
Although there were no large differences in performing the tasks between the two groups, it was noted that patterns of brain activity differed, as evidenced by MRI results.
Injured patients had activity seen in more areas of their brain than did control subjects.
Source: Brain Injury Patients Cope by Using More of Their Brains. Todd Neale, September 9, 2008. MedPage Today http://www.medpagetoday.com/neurology/HeadTrauma/tb/10844