Brain News You Can Use (March, 2013)

By Gail Sanders Durgin, Ph.D., BCN-Fellow, QEEGT

Childhood Brain Injuries can have Long Term Effects on the Ability to Learn.

Brain injuries can have a number of effects on a child from motor skills to language to decision making. Researchers have found that the effects of trauma on the brain of a child last much longer than previously assumed.

In research published in the journal Pediatrics, Vicki Anderson from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia showed that children with brain injuries have problems for 10 years afterwards. Her previous research showed injuries had effects for up to five years.

In this study, a group of 40 children between 2 and 7 years old were followed after experiencing a traumatic head injury, usually caused by a bad fall or a car accident. The children were given evaluations of their social, cognitive and behavioral skills at the time of the injury. These children were retested after 3 months, 6 months, 18 months, 5 years, and 10 years.

In general, children with the most severe injuries demonstrated the most continuing deficits over the study period, and children with milder injuries demonstrated fewer problems. The children were compared to a control group of 16 children who had not received a brain injury.

The deficits seen most were in the higher skills as planning, reasoning and organization .These functions occur in the frontal regions of the brain and are the areas usually most affected by brain injuries. Because these functions are so important to normal development, any damage to these areas of the brain can have long lasting effects. While the brain does have the ability to compensate for many injuries, children have not developed much of the needed developmental maturation and cannot compensate well for the problems caused by the injury. Early damage interrupts the normal development and the brain will improve but generally cannot catch up with the children without a brain injury.

The research showed that children who had rehabilitation and a supportive environment after their injury were able to show better cognitive gains than children who had not had rehabilitation. Early intervention enabled improved recovery.


Gail Sanders Durgin, Ph.D. has been providing neurofeedback and biofeedback at Neurofeedback Associates Inc since 2000. She previously worked in mental health and developmental disabilities services for 18 years. Dr. Durgin offers the most advanced treatment services in the field in order to offer individualized client centered solutions to improve brain and life performance.

Published in Natural Triad, March, 2013


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