This month’s issue of Brain Injury, the official journal of the International Brain Injury Association, was devoted to pediatric traumatic brain injury. Multiple research studies were conducted and included in the journal. Below are summaries of some of these studies:
A study out of Sydney, Australia compared children who sustained traumatic brain injury to children who sustained orthopedic injuries. Specifically, researchers examined objective sleep outcomes in 23 children ages 5-15 who sustained moderate to severe traumatic brain injury. This group was compared to 13 children who sustained an orthopedic injury. The primary measurements were objective sleep measures using actigraphy watch, and secondarily a subjective sleep measure and fatigue questionnaires. The findings showed “evidence of objective and subjective sleep disturbance in children with moderate to severe TBI, but these two types of sleep measures were not related. It is possible the distinct mechanisms underpin objective and subjective sleep disturbance, which may require different interventions.”
In a separate study, researchers conducted a perspective cohort study to assess discrepancies between children and parent symptom reports following a concussion. The research involved 61 patients, ages 7-21, who had been diagnosed with a mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) within the previous 14 days. Children and parents were asked to complete the child SCAT-3 symptom inventory at enrollment and 14 weeks post-injury. The researchers concluded that “although there was moderate-to-strong agreement between child/parent reports of concussion symptoms, and discrepancies in individual cognitive symptom reports exist in both children and adolescents. Therefore, collection of parent scales may provide useful information when tracking cognitive symptoms in adolescent patients, who may under-report or under-recognize cognitive deficits.”
In a study out of Finland, investigators looked at demographic and pre-injury factors in Finnish school-aged children admitted to pediatric neurology services after mild traumatic brain injury. 14.2% of the children with mild TBI had a diagnosed neurobehavioral or psychiatric condition pre-injury, while 53.3% had some neurobehavioral or psychiatric concerns or traits pre-injury. The researchers concluded that “pre-injury neurobehavioral or psychiatric problems may predict prolonged injury symptoms following pediatric mTBI. In this retrospective patient series, prolonged symptoms in female gender seem to predict the need for later psychiatric care.”
A University of Michigan study investigated sex-based differences in the presence and severity of aggregated symptom indicators and individual concussion symptoms. The study included 986 adolescents who had sustained a mild traumatic brain injury. The study found that the greater frequency and severity of concussion symptoms reported by female adolescents highlighted the importance of considering sex as a modifier for the management of concussion.