Brain Injury and ADHD Link?

Could there be a link between a TBI (traumatic brain injury, like a concussion) suffered early in childhood and ADHD later on?  New research hints that may be a possibility.

A recent study published in JAMA Pediatrics suggests that young children hospitalized with a head injury may be at a greater risk for developing ADHD after recovery.

ADHD is one of the most common neurobehavioral disorders in kids characterized by social and behavioral issues as well as inattention, distractibility, and sometimes hyperactivity.

This particular study on the subject evaluated 187 children (3 to 7 years of age) who were briefly hospitalized for either a TBI or another serious injury. None of them had ADHD at the time of injury.

Here are the results:

             Over the course of the seven-year study, 48 children (or 26%) developed symptoms of ADHD.

             Those with a TBI were more than three times likely to develop ADHD as those with another type of injury.

             62% of kids who developed ADHD showed signs of it within the first year after injury.

While experts say this was an extremely small study, and more research is necessary, it indicates there is a strong link between a brain injury early in life affecting its cellular and structural development down the road.

If your child has suffered a concussion, it’s important to be vigilant about recovery efforts and monitor their brain function closely in the time following injury.

“Even after it appears your child has sufficiently healed, and they are given the okay to return to school, sports, and other activities, continue to watch out for any strange behavior,” cautions one of Child Neurology Consultant’s concussion experts, Dr. Michael Reardon. “If you notice they are growing forgetful, having trouble focusing, withdrawing from others, or acting out in any way, discuss this with your doctor right away.”

Knowing the signs to look for in initially spotting a TBI or recognizing challenges after recovery are paramount to proper treatment for the brain that is so delicate during these early childhood years.

If you have concerns about your child’s experience with a TBI and ADHD, please contact us for an appointment with one of our specialists.

(Adapted from Reuters)

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