Traumatic brain injury haunts children for years with variety of functional problems: 2 studies

WASHINGTON — Children who suffer traumatic brain injuries can experience lasting or late-appearing neuropsychological problems, highlighting the need for careful watching over time, according to two studies published by the American Psychological Association.

In one study, a team of psychologists used a longitudinal approach to gain a better idea of what to expect after traumatic brain injury (TBI). The researchers found that severe TBI can cause many lasting problems with day-to-day functioning. Some children may recover academically but then start acting up; other children do surprisingly well for unknown reasons.

In the second study, the first systematic meta-analysis summarizing the collective results of many single studies, the researchers found that problems lasted over time and, in some cases, worsened with more serious injury. Some children with severe TBI started to fall even further behind their peers than one would normally expect, in a snowball effect that requires further study.

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