Traumatic brain injuries in children may lead to ADHD

After a study at four Ohio hospitals, researchers linked TBI in children with an increased risk for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder up to seven years after the injury.
By Allen Cone  |  March 19, 2018 at 1:42 PM
share with facebook
share with twitter

March 19 (UPI) -- Children's severe traumatic brain injury was linked to increased risk attention-deficit/hyperactivity up to about seven years after injury, according to new research.

Researchers examined 187 children from 2003 to 2008 who were hospitalized overnight for traumatic brain injury or orthopedic injury at four hospitals in Ohio, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland and MetroHealth Medical Center, in Cleveland, and report the link in findings published Monday in the Journal of American Medical Association Pediatrics.

More than one million children, adolescents and young adults go to emergency departments every year in the United States with TBI, according to the National Institutes of Health. ADHD is also the most common psychiatric disorder among children with a history of TBI.

But the factors for secondary ADHD after an injury such as a TBI are not well understood, researchers say.

"Studies have failed to consider the potential for attention problems to develop many years after TBI or factors that may predict the development of secondary attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder," the researchers wrote in the new study. "Understanding these patterns will aid in timely identification of clinically significant problems and appropriate initiation of treatment with the hope of limiting additional functional impairment."

The researchers examined 81 childhood TBI patients five to 10 years after injury and 106 children who had sustained orthopedic injuries. None of the children in either group had ADHD.

In the results, 25.7 percent met the definition of secondary ADHD. Specifically, 61.9 percent of children with severe TBI developed secondary ADHD, whereas 15.1 percent of children in the control group developed it.

"Consideration of factors that may interact with injury characteristics, such as family functioning, will be important in planning clinical follow-up of children with TBI," the researchers concluded.

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories