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Traumatic brain injury affects large percent of children

Brain injuries can affect people of all ages in West Virginia. In the United States, acute traumatic brain injury in children accounts for about a tenth of hospital admissions. It also accounts for about 50 percent of childhood deaths, researchers said. Fortunately, the mortality rate right now in a majority of pediatric intensive care units, or PICUs, is under 5 percent and thus has gotten better over the past several years.

A grant of nearly $2 million was given to a children's hospital scientist recently to research early rehabilitation therapy for kids with these types of brain injuries. This is needed because although hospitals have become more victorious in saving young injured patients' lives, improvement is needed in enhancing their quality of life. The three-year study will begin in 2015 and will involve children between the ages of 3 and 17; no other study like this has been completed.

Patients in PICUs currently receive supportive care, including consistent monitoring and patient stabilization. The goal going forward is to also provide these patients early on with emotional, physical and speech therapies. Just a small percent of patients receive these additional supports right now.

The biggest cause of disability and death among kids continues to be traumatic brain injury. About one-and-a-half million Americans suffer some type of injury to the brain each year. Car accidents and falls are the cause of more than 50 percent of all injuries to the brain in the United States, research shows. If a person's brain injury stemmed from another party's negligent behavior, he or she has the right to file a liability suit against that party. A preponderance of the evidence is required to prove that one's injuries were truly caused by the other person's negligence in West Virginia.

Source: wesa.fm, "Children's Hospital Lands $1.9 Million Grant To Study Acute Brain Injury", Michael Lynch, Sept. 2, 2014

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