Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cerebral Concussions in Children

Brain (cerebral) concussions, otherwise called "mild traumatic brain injuries" in children are attracting more attention these days due to proliferation of research in this area.
Concussions can lead to long term problems involving cognitive functions - poor memory, attention span, learning and also behavioral changes. Diagnosis of concussion is usually based on a history of trauma and neurological evaluation. Headache, nausea, vomiting, poor balance, dizziness, being dazed are very obvious signs.
Less noticeable problems include sensitivity to light and noise, numbness, feeling tired, slow responses to questions.
Old treatment of brain concussion was physical rest - including bed rest in case of dizziness and vomiting. Now days in addition to physical rest doctors also advise to have so called "cognitive" rest - the avoidance of all activities that could increase brain metabolic rate and blood flow. The cognitive rest means forgoing video games, board games, and computers, studying, reading as well as avoiding noisy, busy and stressful environments.

Sergei Shushunov, MD