Articles Posted in Brain injuries in children

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According to a recap published on Medscape that discussed the results of a recent study, traumatic brain injuries are not associated with the development of Alzheimer’s Disease later in life but are instead linked to the development of Parkinson’s Disease later in life. The new study suggests that traumatic brain injuries can be linked to the accumulation of Lewy bodies, which are associated with Lewy Body Dementia and Parkinson’s Disease according to the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging. Lewy bodies are abnormal protein deposits in the brain that can affect certain chemical levels in the brain, which can eventually lead to problems with thinking, movement, behavior, and mood. Ultimately, these affect a person’s ability to function normally on a day-to-day basis and may lead to Parkinson’s Disease or Lewy Body Dementia.

The study, published this month, contradicts an influential study from 1995 that had previously linked some aspects of traumatic brain injury with Alzheimer’s Disease. According to the lead author of the new study, the researchers had set out to prove the link between traumatic brain injuries and Alzheimer’s Disease later in life. According to the article, they instead found that a single blow to the head that resulted in the victim losing consciousness for more than one hour increased the risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease later in life by three-fold. The new study used data collected from three other studies that included participants initially free from dementia. The participants in the three other studies included older Seattle-area Group Health members; older religious clergy from across the United States; and older residents from the Chicago-area enrolled in the study through retirement facilities, subsidized housing, church groups, and social services. Having included thousands of older adults in the three studies used to conduct the study at hand, no particular link was found between the occurrence of traumatic brain injuries with loss of consciousness over one hour and Alzheimer’s Disease. Researchers indicated that they found a “pretty strong” association between loss of consciousness lasting more than an hour and the risk of developing Lewy bodies based on comprehensive neuropathic evaluations conducted at the time of death. The research indicated an average 40-year gap between a traumatic brain injury with loss of consciousness over one hours and the development of microscopic evidence of abnormal proteins associated with Lewy bodies.
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Concussion type brain injuries is one of the leading causes of death and disability in children and adolescents between the ages from newborn up to four years of age, and from fifteen to nineteen. Concussion injuries are usually temporary if mild or moderate, and the child may recover completely from the effects within a few days but, however, multiple head injuries no matter how mild, can lead to lasting health related problems making a full recovery problematic, and can lead eventually to brain damage and long lasting disabilities. If your child receives a head injury, no matter how slight it may appear, there should be some concern. A healthcare provider should examine the child as soon as possible to make sure that the injury is not more serious that you may suspect.

Be Vigilant of Adolescent Contact Sports and Children Playground Head Injuries

A major contributor to brain injuries in adolescents appears to be contact sports, i.e., football, soccer, etc. Studies also show that one of the main contributors to brain injury in young children up to four years of age, is playground accidents and injuries. Who would have thought that playground monkey bars and swings would be a dangerous instrumentality for our children? We all remember playing on the monkey bars, it is as American as apple pie, but it is now presenting a health issue for our children. While these incidents may usually be mild, any concussion should not be taken lightly.
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A recent article on Medpage Today is discussing the prevalence of sleep problems among children with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). According to the study, these youth experience higher rates of disturbed sleep patterns during the night, with increased sleepiness during the daytime hours.

The Study Details
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A recent study published in “Critical Care Medicine” investigates a disturbing side effect among children with moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). The research focuses on a condition called vasospasm, which is the narrowing of blood vessels within the body. The constrictions happen quickly, like a muscle spasm.

As reported by News Medical, researchers set out to better determine the prevalence of the condition. The resulting information found that vasospasm was present in 3% to 8.5% of children with moderate TBI and 21% to 33.5% of children with severe brain injury. Additionally, the condition was found to appear within four to five days after the causing injury occurred.
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As concern continues to mount over teen concussions and brain injuries, a recent research study is giving advice that seems to contradict the norm. Concussions are mild forms of brain injury. When they occur, most physicians advocate for extended rest before a return to regular activities. Where opinions differ is the appropriate duration for that rest. While some doctors assert that a day or two is sufficient, others direct their teenage patients to remain inactive for up to a week. Some physicians even prescribe prolonged rest in a dark room. US News Health is reporting about a new research study, which suggests that longer resting periods may prove counterproductive to the healing of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

Researchers from the Medical College of Wisconsin conducted the study involving 88 participants, aged 11 to 22, who recently suffered a concussion. Half of the participants were reportedly directed to rest for a period of two days before easing back into their normal daily routines. The other half were instructed to rest for five full day. During the rest period, the patients were instructed to refrain from school work, as well as any physical activity. According to the report, participants in both groups reported a 20% loss of mental and physical energy, leading researchers to conclude that extra days of rest were of little consequence.
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The tragic deaths of four Illinois children not only places a spotlight on swimming fatalities, but also the serious injuries that can occur from swimming pool incidents. Every day, approximately 10 people die from drowning incidents, but experts estimate that the instances of near-drowning are significantly higher. For each fatal drowning incident, four additional hospitalizations reportedly occur, along with 14 additional visits to the emergency room. It only takes three minutes of submersion for a victim to lose consciousness and the brain begins to suffer from loss of oxygen at the five minute mark.

Traumatic brain injuries often occur as the result of a blunt force impact to the head. In a swimming accident, this can occur if the head is hit on a diving board or floor of the pool. However, brain injuries can also occur when there is a loss of oxygen or blood to the brain, which commonly occurs in near-drownings. These types of injuries include:
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The arrival of warm weather brings fun outdoor activities with it. For scores of teenagers that means hours of rolling around on skateboards and long boards. Just ride through virtually any suburb and you will find crowded skateboard parks, a group of kids sneaking in a ride through the local shopping center parking lot and a few kids riding down the middle of the neighborhood streets. Skateboarding is a widespread activity, enjoyed by teenage girls and boys alike. But along with the physical activity it provides, skateboarding also comes with possibilities of injury, including traumatic brain injuries.

What you don’t see often enough when observing skateboarders are helmets. Even in jurisdictions where helmets are mandatory, many riders are not wearing them to their own detriment. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were more than 130,000 skateboard injuries in 2010. Forty-six percent of those injuries occurred in children under the age of 15-years-old. When these accidents result in blows to the head, traumatic brain injuries can occur.

One particular study by Brigham Young University found that long boarding, which uses a longer and wider board, poses a particular risk of brain injuries. Researchers evaluated 824 injuries between 2006 and 2011. More than half of these incidents occurred on long boards and among them, there was a significantly higher risk of head fractures and traumatic brain injuries.

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With the school year coming to an end, parents will soon begin looking for activities to keep their children entertained and out of the house. Trampoline parks offer an afternoon of fun and physical activity in an indoor environment. Unfortunately, this recreation can also result in traumatic brain injuries to the children who enjoy them. According to recent news reports, injuries are common among trampoline users, including possible trauma to the head. Dr. Gary Smith works with the Child Injury Prevention Alliance. He is reported as stating, “Trampolines were designed as training devices, not as toys. The problem we are seeing with trampoline parks is that there is not enough supervision and they’re not being used appropriately. There are unnecessary injuries occurring.”

According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, 16 ambulances were dispatched to a Chicago area trampoline park during the first half 2011. One girl reported falling on her neck, subsequently experiencing tingling in her arms and breathing problems. Smith calls the trampoline parks a progression from the backyard trampolines that became common backyard fixtures during the 1990s. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the number of trampoline injuries nearly tripled during that time, including 11 reported deaths. Many homeowner insurance companies even ban them or explicitly exclude trampoline injuries from coverage.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reportedly falls short of a recommendation against trampolines, instead promoting the importance of adequate supervision during use. However, the interpretation of adequate supervision is an issue of debate among the trampoline companies and parents of injured children.

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A recent study, published in the Huffington Post, suggests a link between traumatic brain injuries and homelessness. The study entailed surveys of 111 homeless men, between the ages of 27 and 81 years of age, selected from a male homeless shelter in Toronto, Canada. The researchers found that 45% of the men surveyed reported at least one traumatic brain injury in their life times, with 87% of those injuries occurring prior to the loss of shelter. The article points out that these numbers are particularly shocking in comparison to the general population, where traumatic brain injury occurrences are generally around 12%.

There are various degrees of traumatic brain injuries. For example, sports concussions are generally classified as mild to moderate. Severe traumatic brain injury occurs when the brain moves around within the skull or a foreign object causes injury to it. The severe injuries can cause victims to slip into comas or experience amnesia. These injury types can also reportedly result in impairments to cognitive and motor functions.

Most of the brain injuries experienced by study participants were mild or moderate in nature, occurring under various circumstances. Respondents over the age of 40 reported assault as the most common cause of injury, while those under 40 years of age reported that their injuries resulted from drug or alcohol abuse. When the total population of respondents was considered, sports injuries and car collisions were the most frequent causes.

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An injury to the brain can have far reaching consequences. It is not like a broken bone, which can generally be treated and repaired. The complexities of the brain are such that the medical community is still not certain about all of the long range effects of brain injuries. A recent report discusses the intricacies of brain injuries among youths, who are still in their developmental years. According to the report, studies show that at least half of all New York City jail inmates, between the ages of 16 and 18, report suffering from some level of brain injury prior to their incarceration. The study was recently published in The Journal of Adolescent Health.

Researchers questioned 300 boys and 84 girls, asking about the extent, seriousness and cause of any previous brain injuries. The results reportedly showed that 50% of the male and female youths reported traumatic brain injuries that led to some level of amnesia, a temporary loss of consciousness or a combination of both. Researchers also reportedly found that of those injuries, 55% of them resulted from physical assaults. The number of reported incidents of injury has increased substantially in recent years. A previous study of a similar population demonstrated an injury rate of 15 to 30 percent.

Past Brain Injury and Present Behaviors