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Children with mTBIs at increased risk of affective and behavioural disorders – study

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Children who have sustained a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) may be at an increased risk of developing a new affective or behavioural disorder, according to a new study.

The research, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that children with a mTBI had a 34 per cent higher risk of developing affective disorders and were 37 per cent more at risk of developing a behavioural disorder.

Previous studies have identified an association between mTBIs in children and postinjury psychiatric disorders, but more research is needed to determine the risk.

Researchers at Kaiser Permanente Vallejo Medical Center in California, conducted a study in 18,917 patients aged 17-years-old and younger, who were diagnosed with a mTBI from 2000 to 2014.

These were matched with 37,834 controls, randomly selected and matched for age, sex, race/ethnicity, and date of medical visit.

Outcomes included a diagnosis of affective or behavioural disorders in the four years after sustaining a mTBI.

The results showed that the risks for affective disorders were “significantly higher” in the first three years after injury the mTBI group, especially during the second year, which demonstrated a 34 per cent increase in risk.

Adjusted risks for behavioural disorders were significant at years 2 and 4, with up to a 37 per cent increase in risk.

Patients aged 10 to 13-years-old were at the greatest risk for post-injury affective and behavioural disorders.

The authors conclude: “Sustaining an mTBI significantly increased the risks of having a new affective or behavioral disorder up to 4 years after injury. Initial and ongoing screening for affective and behavior disorders following an mTBI can identify persistent conditions that may pose barriers to recovery.”

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