A new study demonstrates that children with even mild concussions can have problems with memory and attention even a year after their injuries. The study is one of several attempts by researchers to determine which children are most at risk for lingering symptoms.
The study, authored by Keith Owen Yeates, a neuropsychologist at Ohio State University’s Center for Biobehaviorial Health, indicates that about 20 percent of children with these injuries experience lingering effects.
Forgetfulness was the symptom most likely to linger, more so than fatigue, dizziness or other complaints. All symptoms were more common in children who lost consciousness or demonstrated abnormal brain scans than those who had normal brain scans or did not lose consciousness.
“What parents want to know is if my kid is going to do okay. Most do okay, but we have to get better at predicting which kids are going to have problems,” Yeates said.
Children who do have persistent problems may need extra help, he says, from temporary accommodations, extra time taking tests or wearing sunglasses if bright light bothers them.
Researchers defined “mild” brain injuries as those that involved no more than half an hour of unconsciousness. However, it is notable that 60 percent of the children had no loss of consciousness.
The sooner researchers are able to accurately measure the damage done by brain injuries, the better off everyone will be.
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