In a study published online in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics on June 25, researchers found evidence that children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) experience a longer-lasting traumatic brain injury than children without the disorder, according to HealthDay. Additionally, children with ADHD are more likely to suffer a moderate disability after a TBI stemming from events such as auto accidents, falls or sports injuries.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, eight percent of American children have ADHD. Symptoms of ADHD include difficulty focusing, paying attention and controlling impulse behavior. Children with ADHD also exhibit forgetfulness, difficulty staying still and are prone to take risks without fully understanding consequences. ADHD also shares symptoms with TBI, such as disinhibited behavior and impaired memory.
Before choosing a group of patients to study, the researchers looked at the medical history of the ADHD patients at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburg who had experienced a mild TBI between 2003 and 2010. The researchers chose 48 children to compare with a control group of 45 children without ADHD who also had a mild TBI. The study revealed that 25 percent of the children with ADHD suffered a moderate disability compared to only two percent of the children without ADHD. Moreover, while only 56 percent of the children with ADHD were fully recovered after a period of almost six months, 84 percent of the children without ADHD were fully recovered after a period of seven weeks. The researchers defined moderate disabilities “as needing supervision or help for physical or behavioral problems, or having residual problems with learning or functioning.”
In addition to sharing their findings, the researchers of the study also make several recommendations. According to the researchers, doctors should fully inform families of children with ADHD about potential outcomes following a head injury, and also increase the scope of care for ADHD patients. They also suggest that parents should perhaps dissuade children who have ADHD from pursuing the types of sports and hobbies that carry an increased risk of sustaining a TBI.