Children with delayed visual perception as a result of serious head injuries may end up with structural changes in their brains that interrupt normal development, a new USC study shows. Researchers examined the brain scans of 21 children (and 20 healthy controls) in LA County who fell from skateboards, scooters and bikes or were hit by a car either as a passenger or as a pedestrian. Study participants were 8 to 18 years old in a pediatric ICU for moderate to severe TBI. Published in Neurology, they found that children who took more than 18 milliseconds to transfer information between the brain hemispheres did not recover as well from TBI compared to their similarly injured counterparts.
“Children who had delayed information transfer times between the two brain hemispheres had widespread regions of white matter disorganization and progressive loss of white matter volume,” said Emily Dennis. “In children, this disruption to myelin—the insulation that facilitates information transfer—is compounded because the brain is still maturing. Finding this potential biomarker may help us identify patients who are at risk for a more prolonged recovery.”