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New Study Aims to Help Children with Traumatic Brain Injuries – November 29, 2010

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is the single most common cause of death and disability in children and adolescents. It is estimated that over a million children sustain brain injuries every year, with roughly 165,000 requiring hospitalization. Close to one half million emergency room visits every year involve children under 14 for traumatic brain injury.

A study this past year by UCLA researchers has determined that over time, children and adolescents with severe traumatic brain injuries appear to fall further behind their peers than would be expected. The worse the injury, the worse the neurocognitive outcome overtime. Younger children with traumatic brain injury seemed to generally do worse than their older counterparts.

Despite years of research on TBI, no effective treatment currently exists for children with traumatic brain injuries. However, recently a University of Michigan researcher has received a two year grant to study the use of progesterone in the treatment of TBI in children. Previous single center studies on the use of progesterone has shown promising results on adults with TBI. Currently, there is a multi-center study underway for adults in the Neurological Emergencies Treatment Trials Network. This current study excludes children.

The study involving children will be coordinated through the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN), which is the only federally-funded pediatric emergency research network in the U.S. PECARN conducts high-priority, multi-institutional research on the prevention and management of acute illnesses and injuries in children and youth of all ages.

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