White Matter Damage Persists After Pediatric MTBI
Is the brain of a child more vulnerable to mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) than an adult? In the December 12, 2012 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience researchers published a study showing that damage to the white matter of the brain first detected 2 weeks after MTBI in children (ages 10-17) was still visible 3 months post-injury on DTI brain scanning. The damage was present even though the children had stopped reporting symptoms. This study contradicts the assumption that the brains of children heal rapidly and completely from MTBI. The white matter of the brain consists of long nerve fibers (axons) that carry messages from one part of the brain to another. Thus the persistence of visible white matter damage 3 months after MTBI is a concern that warrants further investigation.