New studies look at how brain injuries affect youths' IQs

Of all the non-fatal injuries that come from motor vehicle accidents, those involving brain injuries are perhaps the most serious and hardest to detect or to treat. Recent studies show that brain injury may be more common than was previously thought and that even relatively mild injuries can result in long-term problems.

One study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, looked at students aged 11 to 20 and found that one in five of them reported having a head injury that caused them to be knocked out for five minutes or more, or required hospitalization. Researchers said they were surprised at the high numbers of youth reporting these injuries. Less than 10 percent of concussions result in a loss of consciousness for any length of time, they said.

Another study looked at intelligence quotient, tests of students who had suffered head injuries in fights. It found that adolescent boys who had been injured in two fights suffered a drop in their IQ that was roughly equivalent to missing a year of schooling. Each injury related to fighting resulted in a drop of 1.62 IQ points for boys and 3.02 points for girls, the researchers said.

Researchers noted that the study did not track what kind of injuries the teens suffered in the fights. They said they expected the average drop in IQ would be much higher if the study had only tracked head injuries. Other studies have shown that those who suffered deceases in IQ after head injuries are more likely to have mental disorders, behavioral problems, poor performance in school and even a shortened lifespan.

Car accidents are one of the leading causes of brain injuries. It is often difficult at first to detect a brain injury when it has happened, but these injuries can happen following almost any kind of blow to the head. When those who have been in an accident experience confusion, amnesia, nausea, severe headache or weakness on one side of the body, this could be a sign of brain injury.

A personal injury lawsuit can help the injured be compensated for the medical expenses and other damages that come with brain injury. Tennessee residents who think they or a family member have suffered brain injury due to someone else's negligence should get help understanding their legal options.

Source: rtv6, "Medical: Studying concussion's impact on teens," Lee Bowman, July 31, 2013

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