Brain injuries have been known to cause several short-term health issues post-injury, but what about long-term problems? It turns out brain injuries during early childhood may cause a decrease in IQ scores. According to two Australian studies exploring this concept, lower IQs were seen in children for several years after sustaining moderate to severe brain injuries. The studies imply childhood brain injuries could have serious long-term effects.
In a study conducted by the University of Melbourne, children who had suffered moderate to severe brain injuries between the ages of 4 and 5 had average IQs 18 to 26 points lower than other kids, even ten years later. To gather data for the study, researchers studied 53 children being treated for brain injuries at emergency rooms and intensive care units. Overall, 33 of these children had moderate to severe brain injuries.
Researchers used a control group of 27 children without brain injuries to compare results. Unsurprisingly, the most serious injuries resulted in a more severe drop in cognitive performance. Children who participated in the study did improve over time. However, improvement depended on the child’s home and family environment.
While two Australian studies did find a relationship, it does not necessarily prove that brain injuries cause lower IQs. Other variables could be to blame.
The Academic Consequences of Childhood Brain Injuries
Why is it important to consider the cognitive consequences of brain injuries in children? If concussions cause a decline in cognitive performance, even temporarily, children can fall behind in school. When children fall behind in school, it can be difficult to catch up, meaning there may be fewer opportunities as they approach adulthood.
A neurosurgeon with Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh claimed intervention programs could further improve the cognitive abilities of children who have suffered moderate to severe brain injuries. Treating children with brain injuries in a hasty manner could hurt their long-term outcomes.
The Louisiana personal injury attorneys at Galloway Jefcoat can help families who have been hurt by the negligent actions of others.