New research published in JAMA Pediatrics revealed that children who suffer traumatic brain injuries are at an increased risk for other neurologic and physiologic comorbities, like depression and bone and joint issues compared to children without a TBI.
The study used data from the US National Survey of Children’s Health, and it looked at a number of different factors, including whether the child suffered a traumatic brain injury and if they had any other comorbities, like depression, anxiety, epilepsy, seizures, vision problems, ADHD, and bone, muscle or joint problems. What they found was that every single one of these characteristics was more common in children who had previously suffered a head injury.
TBIs and Mental Health Issues
The findings suggest that physical head injuries, especially at an age where the brain is going through significant development, can have long reaching physical and mental consequences. However, through this type of research, we may be able to better prescribe treatment regimens and account for potential problems like depression or anxiety so that we treat the issue before it snowballs into a larger problem. It’s not good news that brain injuries can be linked to these other physical and mental health issues, but it is good news that we’re learning more about their connection, as it allows us to provide children with head injuries with better care.
That’s a similar sentiment proposed by researchers in their conclusion, who wrote that “improved care for children can be better achieved if pediatric healthcare professionals offer medical guidance to parents in the context of a child’s overall health history, including history of lifetime TBI.”
So if your child suffers a head injury during athletic activity or another event, make sure they are seen by a neurospecialist. Symptoms can linger for a long time, and they can even lead to other issues down the road, so don’t just hope that symptoms go away on their own. Proactively treat the injury, and you’ll be able to reduce your child’s likelihood of related health problems.
For more information, or to talk to a head and neck specialist about your child’s injuries, reach out to Dr. Chang’s office today.