We know that concussions are a serious—and increasingly common—injury. Signs and symptoms tend to vary, which is why no head bump should be taken lightly.
But according to new research from the University of California, Los Angeles, children also recover from concussions at different rates depending on the amount of damage brain nerve fibers have experienced.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Neuroscience, found that kids who suffered a concussion or traumatic brain injury recovered more slowly due to extensive damage to the protective coating (myelin) around brain nerve fibers.
Data was collected from 32 kids and teens (ages 8–19) who had experienced a moderate to severe brain injury within the past five months. Researchers examined the rate at which each individual processed and recalled information. Additionally, they recorded the speed that patients' brain nerve fibers transmitted information.
Half of the patients were found to have extensive damage to myelin while the other patients' myelin was almost completely intact. The group with intact myelin did 9 percent better on mental skills tests than the other group, and processed information as quickly as children who had not previously suffered any brain injury.
So what's the takeaway? The study's findings prove how important it is for doctors and medical professionals to identify brain injuries that may be higher-risk in order to monitor them more closely.
Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn.
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