Brain Injury - Childhood Head Injuries And Trauma Brain Development
When a child breaks an arm or leg, the chances are that unless the break is particularly severe, his bones and tissue will heal and he'll soon be back to full mobility. When a child injures his brain, he may not recover to the same extent. If his brain was damaged in an accident, the symptoms of brain injury may persist long after the physical scars have healed, perhaps even for the rest of his life. If the brain damage occurs through illness, the injury may not be apparent immediately, and may be noticed only over time, as the damage impacts negatively on his development throughout childhood.
Types Of Brain Injury
Kids don't hurt their heads and thereby experience brain damage only by falling off bicycles or being involved in car accidents - brain injury can be the result of an illness or medical problem too. Infections such as meningitis and encephalitis can cause brain injury, as can poisoning, a childhood stroke or childhood brain cancer.
Consequences Of Brain Injury
Each case of brain damage is individual and therefore children with brain injuries exhibit symptoms of their internal problem with differing levels of severity. The brain is literally the control center of the body, therefore brain injury can manifest itself in almost any part of a child's body. Typical problems of kids with brain injuries include: loss of memory; problems moving around; fatigue; concentration problems; personality changes; changes in behavior; and changes in a child's perception of himself and the people around him.
In many cases, these problems will stay with a child in some shape or form for the rest of his life. Families and children have to learn adapt to this new situation, which (depending on the extent of his injury) may require medications and behavioral therapy for the affected child, as well as counseling, psychotherapy and practical support at home for him and for his whole family.
Concussion in kids is a temporary loss of brain function usually resulting from head injuries sustained during play or sports. A child does not necessarily have to be knocked unconscious to be suffering from concussion. If treated properly by a medical doctor, concussion symptoms usually subside within a week or so and no permanent damage is done. To be on the safe side, children suffering from head pain or any of the symptoms described below after a blow to the head should be taken to the emergency room for a check-up. It's particularly important to report a baby head injury to your doctor, because a baby can't articulate the symptoms of a brain injury to you. If left untreated, childhood concussion can result in longer lasting brain damage or even a head injury death.
Symptoms of concussion (or indeed of more serious brain injuries) include:
- A change in your child's mental state or normal behavior
- A painful headache
- Refusal to eat
- Appearing listless and grumpy
- A change in sleeping habits
Childhood Brain Tumor
Brain cancer in childhood is thankfully very rare (around 1,500 children are diagnosed with a brain tumor each year in the United States). Certain genetic predispositions and the exposure a child's parents to certain toxic chemicals are believed to be among the causes of childhood brain tumors.
The symptoms of a childhood brain tumor will vary according to the location of the growth. There are a larger number of brain tumor signs because, as mentioned above, the brain runs the whole body. They may include: headache; changes in motility; vomiting; changes in mood and behavior; slurred speech; seizures; drowsiness; depression; changes in heart rate and levels of consciousness; and paralysis or weakness in different parts of the body.
A combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, steroids and anti-seizure medication may be used to treat childhood brain cancer depending on the overall health, weight and size of the child, and his body's tolerance for certain medications.
Childhood Trauma Brain Development
Child development after a brain trauma can be delayed or affected in a number of ways. For example, in school-age kids, the personality and behavioral changes associated with brain injury may result in a once sociable and well-behaved child having difficulties cultivating friendships with other kids or learning in a classroom environment. In younger children and infants, the development impact of a brain injury may not become obvious until they are a little older. These kids may take longer to learn how to walk and talk. In severe cases, they will fail to reach developmental milestones. A team of experts, including doctors, psychologists, teachers and parents will have to work together to manage the consequences of the brain injury on the development of the child in question.