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Cognitive effort delays concussion recovery

New data published on Jan. 6 that could impact young people in North Carolina and across the nation shows that they could take longer to heal after a head injury or concussion and that they need to limit some activities during the recovery process. Research indicated that children and teens, who exercised their brains with cognitive tasks after a concussion, including reading, homework and video games, could face a longer recovery period than those who limit demanding cognitive activities.

The authors of the study looked at 335 young people ranging in age from 8 to 23 with an average age of 15, who suffered from concussions. They were tracked during their recovery period and asked to document their activities during that time ranging from complete cognitive rest or no thinking at all to full cognitive activity. They found that when a young person was involved in full cognitive activity, they took an average of 100 days to recover while those who rested more only took between 20 and 50 days. The length of time for recovery could be further delayed for those who had suffered more than one concussion.

The study recommended that schools adjust for recovery times by reducing expectations for students. However, the researchers observed that completely eliminating cognitive function might not be needed. Another study reported that young people could benefit from recovery at home until their condition improves. Medical professionals also encouraged young people to avoid sports after a concussion.

When a child suffers a concussion, the recovery period can vary in length, depending on a number of circumstances. A personal injury lawyer might be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit on behalf of a young person with a concussion in order to hold the responsible parties accountable.

Source: CBS News, "Concussion recovery in kids may be slowed by homework, video games", Ryan Jaslow, January 06, 2014

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