Sleep problems, fatigue and attention difficulties in the weeks after a child suffers concussion injuries could mean reduced brain function, according to a latest Australian research.
Researchers from the University of Queensland studied via magnetic resonance imaging that scans children’s persistent concussion symptoms and their link to poorer recovery outcomes in the patients, finding that “poor sleep was linked to decreases in brain grey matter and reduced brain function,” the university’s research fellow Dr. Kartik Iyer said in a statement late Friday.
Identifying decreases in brain function can allow us to predict if a child will recover properly, Iyer said.
This knowledge can help clinicians ensure a child receives targeted rehabilitation such as cognitive behavior therapy, medication to improve sleep, or safe and new emerging therapies such as non-invasive brain stimulation to potentially reduce symptoms.
The researchers were able to predict with 86 percent accuracy how decreases in brain function impacted recovery two months post-concussion, according to the university.
Generally, children with persistent concussion symptoms will have alterations to their visual, motor and cognitive brain regions but we don’t have a clear understanding of how this develops and how it relates to future recovery, Iyer said.
It can have a serious impact on their return to normal activities, including time away from school, difficulties with memory and attentiveness, disturbances to sleeping habits and changes to mood all of which affect healthy brain development.
Most children recover fully after a concussion, but one in 10 has persistent symptoms, the research published in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology scientific journal showed.
It is critical that children who receive a head injury see a doctor and get professional medical advice soon after their injury has occurred, Iyer said.
While playing sports or riding bicycles or scooters, children should wear proper protective head gear to minimize the impact of a head injury.
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that can occur after an impact to your head or after a whiplash-type injury that causes your head and brain to shake quickly back and forth. A concussion results in an altered mental state that may include becoming unconscious.
Anyone can become injured during a fall, car accident, or any other daily activity. If you participate in impact sports such as football or boxing, you have an increased risk of getting a concussion. Concussions are usually not life-threatening, but they can cause serious symptoms that require medical treatment.
Symptoms of a concussion vary depending on both the severity of the injury and the person injured. It’s not true that a loss of consciousness always occurs with a concussion. Some people do experience a loss of consciousness, but others don’t.
It’s important to understand the symptoms you could go through yourself when you’re having a concussion, as well as the signs of someone else having a concussion.
See a doctor if you suspect that you or someone else has a concussion. If a concussion occurs during sports practice or a game, tell the athletic coach and go to a doctor.
Concussions may be accompanied by injuries to the spine. If you think a person has a neck or back injury, avoid moving them and call an ambulance for help. If you absolutely must move the person, do so very carefully. You should try to keep the person’s neck and back as stationary as possible. This will avoid causing further damage to the spine.