Brain Injuries: New Research on Treatment and Long-Term Effects on Kids

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By David Goguen on June 04, 2009 1:59 PM

From concussions to severe head trauma that can result in permanent disability or death, brain injuries affect millions of Americans every year. And the prevention of brain injuries has received particular attention in recent months, beginning with the March death of actress Natasha Richardson, who suffered an epidural hematoma (or bleeding of the brain) and fell into an irreversible coma after hitting her head during a seemingly minor ski accident.

Now, the effective treatment of brain injuries and the long-term effects of head trauma suffered by children are the focus of new research at UCLA and a nationally-published study.

New $4.2M Grant to Examine Treatment of Brain Injuries Researchers at the Brain Injury Research Center (BIRC) in the UCLA Department of Neurosurgery have been awarded a $4.2M grant from the National Institutes of Health, to examine new methods of healing the brain after a traumatic brain injury.

A News Release from UCLA on the study says: "Specifically, researchers will be looking at how to best feed the brain the nutrients it needs to optimize recovery." Learn more about the new UCLA research on brain injuries.

Study: Kids' Brain Injury Effects Can Linger for Years. A report published in the May issue of the journal Neuropsychology found that when it comes to brain injuries suffered by children, the effects of mild brain trauma don't typically linger very long, but more serious brain injuries tell a different, more disturbing story.

Kids with even "moderate" brain injuries can suffer deficiencies in brain processing, problem solving ability, and memory for as long as two years after the injury. And the study found that for children with severe brain injuries "gaps with their peers often worsened over time," as Reuters reported last week.