Mild traumatic brain damage raises the risk of behavioural and emotional problems in children, according to a study


Those who sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI), even a moderate one, have greater emotional and behavioural issues than kids who do not, according to research from the Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience.

According to Daniel Lopez, a PhD student in the Epidemiology programme and the study’s first author, “These knocks to the head are problematic to examine because much of it rely on recall of an injury as the impacts do not all require a visit to a doctor.”

But being able to examine longitudinal data from a sizable cohort and pose crucial questions as this gives us critical knowledge about how a TBI, even a moderate one, affects a growing brain, Daniel continued.

The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study, which involved hundreds of children, generated behavioural and MRI data that was utilised by researchers. They discovered that children who had mild TBIs had a 15% higher risk of developing emotional or behavioural issues.

Children between the ages of 10 and twelve faced the greatest risk. Researchers discovered that these behavioural and emotional issues were more likely to affect kids who sustained a major head injury but did not fulfil the diagnostic criteria for a moderate TBI.

One of the 21 study locations gathering information for the National Institutes of Health ABCD Study is the University of Rochester Medical Center. The 10-year research that is following 11,750 kids through early adulthood has included 340 kids from the greater Rochester region since 2017. It examines the effects of biological growth, behaviours, and experiences on brain development as well as other facets of their lives, such as academic success, social development, and general well-being.

Future data from the ABCD Study, according to researchers, should be able to more clearly show how these brain injuries affect mental health and psychiatric issues. According to Ed Freedman, Ph.D., associate professor of neuroscience and co-principal investigator of the ABCD Study at the University of Rochester, “we know some of the brain regions associated with greater risk of mental health disorders are disrupted following a TBI.” This investigation was likewise directed by Freedman. “We aim to better understand the long-term effects of even a moderate TBI with additional time and data,” the statement reads.