Traumatic Brain Injury

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Joan Gerring and colleagues (1998) studied boys and girls aged four to nineteen years diagnosed with severe to moderate closed head injuries (CHI). Most had been injured as pedestrians or as drivers or passengers in a motor vehicle; many had been in a coma for about ten days. Gerring found that 20 percent of the children with CHI had ADHD prior to their head injury. This elevated incidence is consistent with the expectation that children with ADHD are more likely to behave in impulsive or careless ways that put them at risk of such injuries.

During the year following their CHI, an additional 19 percent of children and adolescents in this sample developed sufficient ADHD symptoms to warrant diagnosis. This development suggests that impairments of ADHD may be acquired by certain kinds of physical damage to the brain. Similar results were obtained in studies by Jeffrey Max and others (1998).

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