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More headaches for girls, adolescents with TBI


As many as 500,000 children sustain traumatic brain injury (TBI) every year in the United States. Adults with TBI are able to discuss their symptoms after the fact, but for small children, there is no way to communicate these experiences. New research has attempted to find out what the after effect of TBI is in young people.

Researchers analyzed the prevalence of headaches three and 12 months after mild, moderate and severe TBI in children ages 5 to 17. They found that headaches were higher in the 13 to 17 age group and higher for girls.

The headaches can create significant problems. Three months after mild TBI, 43% of children reported regular headaches, compared to 37% with moderate to severe TBI and 26% in the control group. The conclusion was that the response to TBI and the recovery from it vary for different ages groups and genders. The risk of headache is higher in adolescents and girls.

“Little research has focused on chronic headache post-TBI in children,” said Dr. Heidi Blume, MD, MPH, from Seattle children’s Research Institute. “Our findings indicate that many children and adolescents suffer from TBI-associated headaches yearly. In addition, the prevalence of headache following mild TBI appears to follow a pattern we see in primary headache disorders such as a migraine. With future research, we can begin to examine whether there are similarities in the cause of migraine and post-traumatic headache, and if migraine therapies will work for post-traumatic headaches.”

Researchers did not find a significant difference in the occurrence of headache one year after the injury when compared to other traumatic injury, like a broken arm.

“What parents need to know is that some children with TBI may have headaches for several weeks or months after TBI, but that most recover with time,” said Dr. Blume.

Source: Pediatrics, ScienceDaily

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