Depression twice more likely in children with brain injuries

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Head injury spurs the incidence of depression in adults. But traumatic brain injuries suffered during childhood and its effect on neurological disorders was unclear…until now.

A team of researchers from the Brown University have discovered that children who suffer from brain injury are twice more likely to develop depression in adulthood.

“Brain injury remains significantly associated with depression in children despite adjustment for known predictors,” the authors wrote in the findings published in the journal American Academy of Pediatrics. “This study may enable better prognostication for brain-injured children and facilitate identification of those at high risk of depression.”

The study
For the purpose of the study, researchers looked at the findings of 2007 nationally representative study including 82,000 children and teenagers.

2034 children had been diagnosed with a “brain injury or concussion, a figure reflecting 1.9 percent national prevalence. Furthermore, 3,100 children were diagnosed with depression, a prevalence of 3.7 percent.

Comparisons revealed that children who had suffered from a head injury were four times more likely to develop symptoms of depression. However, after accounting for other risk factors of depression namely age, race, ethnicity, family income and structure, maternal mental health, the risk of head injury fueling depression dropped to double.

“After adjustment for known predictors of depression in children like family structure, developmental delay and poor physical health, depression remained two times more likely in children with brain injury or concussion,” study’s lead researcher, Matthew C. Wylie, marked.

Furthermore, to study the prevalence of depression among adults who had suffered from traumatic brain injury (TBI), the researchers searched for more predictors of depressive symptoms and psychological distress

The researchers looked at 118 individuals between the ages of 16 and 55 who had suffered from TBI. While 66 percent had sustained a moderate to severe TBI, others suffered from mild TBI.
Besides TBI, other factors like substance abuse, employment status, etc also contributed towards depression.

“Psychosocial stressors and employment status contributed to depressive symptoms and psychological distress, whereas injury severity did not have any predictive value,” researchers marked. “The prevalence of depressive symptoms remained stable over time, emphasizing the importance of recognizing and treating depression early after the injury.”

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