Jump to:  A   |   B   |   C   |   D   |   E   |   F   |   G   |   H   |   I   |   J   |   K   |   L   |   M   |   N   |   O   |   P   |   Q   |   R   |   S   |   T   |   U   |   V   |   W   |   X   |   Y

ADHD May Be Tied to Longer-Lasting Head Injury, Study Says

TUESDAY, June 25 (HealthDay News) -- Children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder should be steered away from contact sports such as football or basketball because these kids may be at greater risk of long-lasting head injury than their peers, a new study recommends.

Scientists found that children with ADHD -- who are already prone to risk-taking behaviors -- were much more likely than kids without the disorder to suffer a moderate disability after sustaining a mild traumatic brain injury from events such as car accidents, falls and injuries from high-impact sports.

"This was a phenomenon that I had noticed in my own practice -- some children with ADHD didn't recover as well following a traumatic brain injury," said senior study author Dr. Stephanie Greene, an assistant professor of neurological surgery at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. Some of the symptoms of traumatic brain injury are also symptoms of ADHD -- disinhibited behavior and impaired memory, she noted. "The effects of the [traumatic brain injury] may be additive to those of ADHD," she explained.

Encouraging activities in which the chances of brain injury are lower -- for example, swimming or track instead of football or basketball -- is a way in which parents can provide an outlet for energy while protecting their child's brain, she added.

The study is published online June 25 in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics.

About 8 percent of American children have ADHD, a neurological disorder characterized by problems focusing, being overactive and exhibiting poor impulse control, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Traumatic brain injury results in more than 7,000 deaths, 60,000 hospitalizations and 600,000 emergency room visits annually in the United States, according to the study. Prior research has linked several aspects of ADHD and traumatic brain injury.

In the new study, Greene and her colleagues reviewed medical charts of all patients at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh who had ADHD and were diagnosed with a mild traumatic brain injury between 2003 and 2010. Forty-eight of these children were compared with a control group of 45 children without ADHD who had also sustained a mild traumatic brain injury.

The researchers found that 25 percent of the ADHD group suffered a moderate disability, and 56 percent had completely recovered after a nearly six-month follow-up period. In contrast, among the patients without ADHD, only 2 percent suffered a moderate disability and 84 percent had completely recovered after a much shorter follow-up of seven weeks. Moderate disability was defined as needing supervision or help for physical or behavioral problems, or having residual problems with learning or functioning.

Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York in New Hyde Park, praised the study's design and said the authors excelled at explaining the possible implications of the findings.

"As someone who specializes in the evaluation and care of children with ADHD, I know they are at increased risk of injury," he said. "I think this study is suggesting that if they do experience a significant head injury, they may have greater long-term problems from that. Why that's true is hard to know."

The study made several recommendations stemming from the results, including that doctors should counsel families of children with ADHD about expected outcomes after a head injury; that more intensive treatment and rehabilitation for these patients be initiated; and that parents perhaps discourage children with ADHD from sports or hobbies that carry higher risks of sustaining a traumatic brain injury.

"Part of the problem with children with ADHD is that they often have poor impulse control, which means that they are at higher risk of sustaining a [traumatic brain injury] by engaging in risk-taking behaviors in daily life, separate from sports," Greene said. "When risky sports are added to the already elevated risk of [traumatic brain injury], the chances of a child sustaining a [traumatic brain injury] with potentially lingering effects become unacceptably high."

But Adesman said the findings need to be replicated before he would agree with curtailing contact sports for children with ADHD.

"I would not steer all kids with ADHD away from contact sports based on single study," he said. "Certainly we know that kids can experience accidents thru a variety of means . . . sports accidents made up a very small percent of accidents" in this study.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more information about traumatic brain injury.

SOURCES: Stephanie Greene, M.D., assistant professor, neurological surgery, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh; Andrew Adesman, M.D., chief, developmental and behavioral pediatrics, Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York, New Hyde Park, N.Y.; June 25, 2013, Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics, online

Reviewed Date: --

Find a pediatrician
Neurology
L. Matthew Frank, MD
Ingrid Loma-Miller, MD
Ralph Northam, MD
Svinder Toor, MD
Larry White, MD
Childrens Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
J. Marc Cardelia, MD
Allison Crepeau, MD
Cara Novick, MD
H. Sheldon St. Clair, MD
Carl St. Remy, MD
Allison Tenfelde, MD
Health Tips
A Heads-Up for Football Safety
ADHD Drugs Safe, Experts Say
Aerobic Exercises for Kids
Basketball: Make Safety a Point
Boost Your Teen Daughter’s Body Image
Cool Tools to Keep Your Kids From Smoking
Could Your Child Have a Drug Problem?
Do Parents Influence Their Kids’ Health Behaviors?
Exercise Goals for Kids
Growing Up Short or Heavy Can Be Difficult
Guidelines for Raising Smoke-Free Kids
Helping Children Conquer Fear
Helping Your Child Choose a Sport
How Old Is 'Old Enough' for Contacts?
How to Prevent Childhood Obesity
How to Talk About Drugs With Your Kids
Keeping Your Cool When Parenting Teens
Kids' Health Concerns Ease with Age
Make Exercise a Family Affair
Making Family Fitness Fun
Making Rules for Children Reinforces Love
Making This School Year Your Child's Best Ever
Medications to Treat ADHD in Children
New Parents...Sore Backs
Parents-to-Be Must Communicate
Paying for Attention: Abuse of Prescription ADHD Drugs Rising on College Campuses
Preparing Your Daughter for Changes
Reading to Kids Helps Their Development
Solving Battles at Mealtime
Strengthening Exercises for Kids
Talk With Your Kids About These Issues
Talking Sex with Your Teen
Teach Teens to Stretch
Teens and Talk: What's a Parent to Do?
We Can Head Off Teen Tragedies
What Kids Drink Is Important, Too
When Children Say 'No' to New Foods
When to Call the Doctor for Childhood Illnesses
When Your Child Says, 'I'm Sick'
Quizzes
Swimming Quiz
NewsLetters
More U.S. Children Need a Daily Dose of Exercise
Diseases & Conditions
AIDS/HIV in Children
Anatomy of a Child's Brain
Anatomy of the Endocrine System in Children
Anxiety Disorders in Children
Asthma and Children
Asthma in Children Index
Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Children
Bicycle, In-Line Skating, Skateboarding Safety--Injury Statistics and Incidence Rates
Bipolar Disorder in Children
Bone Marrow Transplantation in Children
Brain Tumors in Children
Chemotherapy for Children: Side Effects
Diphtheria in Children
Discipline
During an Asthma Attack
Ewing Sarcoma
Exercise and Adolescents
Exercise and Children
Firearms
Hepatitis B (HBV) in Children
Inflammatory and Infectious Musculoskeletal Disorders
Inflammatory and Infectious Neurological Disorders
Inguinal Hernia in Children
Insect Bites and Children
Kidney Transplantation in Children
Meningitis in Children
Mood Disorders in Children and Adolescents
Muscular Dystrophy
Myasthenia Gravis in Children
Osteosarcoma in Children
Pediatric Blood Disorders
Poliomyelitis (Polio) in Children
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Children
Preparing the School-Aged Child for Surgery
Schizophrenia in Children
School-Aged Child Nutrition
Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis
Sports Safety for Children
Superficial Injuries Overview
Television and Children
Thalassemia
The Growing Child: 2-Year-Olds
The Heart
The Kidneys
Vision Overview
Whooping Cough (Pertussis)

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.