Children who have sustained a traumatic brain injury have evident brain change for long after the physical symptoms subside. These findings were published in The Journal of Neuroscience, and the implications for children are not great.
Children have more fragile brains than adults because their brains are still developing. While there has been huge concern about children’s brain health, most research has been on adults. The research on adults has shown that concussions alter the brain’s white matter, but the amount of change from a single brain injury in adults is minor compared to what was found in this recent study on children. This suggests children are more vulnerable to the effects of TBI.
According to Science Daily, the new study was enacted by Andrew Mayer, PhD, and his collegues at the Mind Research Network and the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. They studied children ages 10-17 with mild TBI, and they noticed the structural changes in children’s white matter can be seen after about two weeks, but remains for more than three months after.
As Mayer said, “These findings may have important implications about when it is truly safe for a child to resume physical activities that may produce a second concussion, potentially further injuring an already vulnerable brain.”