Brain injuries can lead to widespread deficits in a range of functions — from language to motor skills and cognition — and the effects may be longer-lasting than researchers thought, especially in young children who suffer traumatic blows to the head.
In research published in the journal Pediatrics, Vicki Anderson, director of critical care and neuroscience research at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, and her colleagues found that children with brain injuries continue to have problems with cognition for a decade after their trauma. In previous studies, Anderson showed that these effects can last for as long as five years.
The new study followed a group of 40 children aged 2 to 7 with traumatic brain injuries, generally caused by car accidents or a bad fall. They were given a battery of cognitive, social and behavioral skills tests at the time of their injury, and then tested again at three months, six months, 18 months, five years and 10 years after the injury.