A recent study examining the outcomes following a childhood brain injury was recently published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry (75:737-42, 2004). The study entitled “Outcomes Following Childhood Head Injury: A Population Study” sought to identify outcomes following head injury among the population of children admitted to one hospital center and to compare outcomes between different severity groups. Children between the ages of 5 – 15 years at injury were followed up in a mean of 2.2 years post injury. 526 children (419 mild, 58 moderate, 49 severe and 45 controls) were assessed.
The study found frequent behaviourial, emotional memory and attention problems by one-third of the severe group, one-quarter of the moderate and 10-18 percent of the mild. Personality changes following brain injury were reported for 148 children (21 percent mild, 46 percent moderate, 69 percent severe). The study also found a significant association between social deprivation and poor outcome. Only 30 percent of the children received hospital follow-up care after the brain injury. While children with severe disability received appropriate follow-up, the authors found, 64 percent of children with moderate disability received none.
While it always had been believed that children with mild traumatic brain injury would go on to an uneventful recovery, the study found that there was no evidence to suggest a threshold of injury severity below which the risk of late sequella could be safely discounted. It is well recognized that persons who sustained traumatic brain injury may have problems with balance and dizziness. Quite often, these complaints are overlooked or ignored by treating doctors who tell their patients that the condition will improve over time. Quite often, this post traumatic vertigo is due to injury to the inner ear. Positional vertigo is the most common type of injury causing dizziness occurring in approximately 28 percent of people with post traumatic vertigo. Other types of injuries causing balance and dizziness include post traumatic Meniere’s syndrome, Labyrinthine concussion, post traumatic migraine or perilymph fistula. The injury may also be due to damage to the brain stem as well. People suffering with balance and dizziness should be seen by a neurootolaryngologist as soon as possible.