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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Teenage Traumatic Brain Injuries Lead to Harmful Behaviors

Traumatic brain injury
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are quite common amongst teenagers, especially those who play sports. A TBI is defined as a blow to the head that causes one to be knocked out for at least five minutes, or spending at least one night in the hospital due to symptoms associated with such an injury. New research indicates that teenagers who have had a TBI are at increased risk of using marijuana, drinking alcohol and smoking, HealthDay reports.

The researchers studied data from more than 9,000 teenagers from middle-school to grade 12. The findings varied between males and females who experienced TBI’s.

Girls were:
  • Three times more likely to smoke than girls without a brain injury.
  • More likely to endure bullying.
  • More likely to suffer from anxiety or depression.
  • More likely to think about suicide.
“This is a wake-up call. Concussions are brain injuries, and we need parents and physicians to become more vigilant,” said lead author Gabriela Ilie of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. “Our brains define who we are, and a lot of our behaviors and thoughts and emotions depend on our brain circuitry operating properly.”

Boys were:
  • Twice as likely to smoke daily in their late teens.
  • More likely to engage in harmful activities.
“Both boys and girls were more likely to engage in a variety of harmful behaviors if they reported a history of TBI, but girls engaged in all 13 harmful behaviors we looked for, whereas boys were at higher risk of engaging in only nine,” Ilie said in a news release. “Sex matters when it comes to traumatic brain injuries.”

The findings clearly showed that TBI’s affected girls more than boys, but both were affected more as they aged.


The findings appear in the journal PLOS ONE.

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