A new study investigating the impact of pediatric traumatic brain injury on attention found that lapses of attention represented a core attention deficit in children with traumatic brain injury, even with mild traumatic brain injury (even in the absence of intracranial pathology) or moderate/severe TBI. A study, entitled “Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury and Attention Deficit,” published in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, looked at 113 children aged 6 to 13 years who were diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury. These children were compared to a control group of 53 children with a trauma control injury not involving the head. The investigation group looked at children who had mild TBI with or without risk factors for complicated mild TBI, as well as moderate/severe TBI survivors. Behavioral function was assessed by using parent and teacher questionnaires and the Attention Network Test, which assessed alerting, orienting, and executive attention.
The results of the study showed that the TBI group had higher parent and teacher ratings of attention and internalizing problems, higher parent ratings of externalizing problems and lower intelligence than the control group. Children with mild TBI who had extra risk factors such as headache, vomiting, or seizures after injury also had lower IQ scores and more lapses of attention.