Watch out for head injuries in children, even minor ones!

THE ESSENTIAL

  • A head injury is considered “minor” if there has been no loss of consciousness for more than 30 minutes and no confusion for more than 24 hours after the shock.
  • 30% of people who have suffered a concussion still have symptoms after more than 15 days.
  • Sometimes there is no visible motor impairment in the hours that follow.

Even a slight fall can have hardly noticeable consequences. Israeli researchers have found this. In her work, published in Scientific reports, they explain that minor head injuries in children can have consequences years later in the form of post-concussion syndrome. These are cognitive, physical and also emotional symptoms that persist for several weeks after the shock. This can manifest itself chronically, for example through repeated forgetfulness, memory problems or an increased sensitivity to light and noise.

Difficult to identify brain damage

In this study, Israeli scientists examined 200 children who suffered a head injury. After various examinations, all of them were able to leave the emergency room because their case did not require any medical intervention. “The children in the study presented to the emergency room with minor head trauma and were sent home after spending the night under observation or being sent for a CT scan of the head., adds Dr. Eli Fried of Kaplan Medical Center. The researchers followed them from six months to three years after their release date. “In contrast to damage to large arteries and brain tissue, a minor head injury damages small blood vessels and neuronsthe authors explain in a press release. And they’re undetectable on head CT scans or MRIs.” Only long-term follow-up can identify symptoms, with regular brain imaging. Overall, 25.3% of the children followed showed postconcussive syndrome.

The symptoms are often confused with attention deficit disorder

In many cases, however, the symptoms are misidentified. “Persistent Post Concussion Syndrome is a chronic syndrome resulting from microdamage to small blood vessels and nerves that can occur several months after the head injury and is therefore often misdiagnosed as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD).says dr Shai Efrati from Tel Aviv University. There are cases where children report headaches and migraines are diagnosed, or children report difficulty concentrating and the doctor prescribes Ritalin.“This misdiagnosis and associated inappropriate treatments are not treating these children who continue to suffer from the same symptoms.”It should be clear that the consequences of a childhood brain injury last throughout life.“adds Dr. Uri Bella, director of the pediatric emergency department at Kaplan Medical Center. Only an appropriate diagnosis will limit them.

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