Brain injuries can occur anywhere. In Miami, car accidents, workplace injuries, slip and fall accidents, and other incidents can all lead to brain trauma. These injuries can cause cognitive problems, memory loss, vision challenges, and even mobility issues, among other symptoms. According to a new study, however, a history of traumatic brain injury (TBI) can also be linked to juvenile incarceration.
The new study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, has found that about half of teens between the ages of 16 to 18 newly admitted to jail in New York City were found to have a history of brain trauma. As part of the study, about 84 female and 300 male inmates were evaluated for TBI in 2012. About 55% of the TBI came from assault, according to the study. Researchers concluded that the rate of injuries among the juvenile group was considerably higher than the rate of TBI among the general population of teens. The rate of brain injury was also higher than researchers had predicted.
Although scientists noted that more studies need to be done, the research does suggest that one of the effects of brain injury in Miami and other communities could lead to personality changes and other long-term effects.
Statistics already show that brain injury is a huge problem. About 162 out of 100 000 hospitalizations for people under the age of 24 were for brain injury between 2009 and 2010. About 4,064 out of 100,000 emergency room visits for the same age group were related to brain injury. The latest study could suggest that more needs to be done to ensure that youth get correct diagnosis and support after suffering a serious head injury, since misdiagnosis in Miami and lack of access to care could have serious and long-term consequences.
Right now, scientists have noted an alarming increase in the number of brain injuries among youth. In addition, scientists have found that after a concussion young patients suffer from emotional and cognitive changes. Most patients can recover from these symptoms, but repeated concussions and injuries can lead to long-term injury and consequences. Unfortunately, since there are still so many questions about brain injuries and so much that is not known, it is possible that children are misdiagnosed or not given the help they need unless they show obvious symptoms of head injury. This can mean that the rate of TBI among youth may be underreported.
There is more research available about adult TBI survivors than about youthful patients. In adults, serious brain injury has been linked to decision-making issues, cognitive challenges, memory loss, aggression, emotional disorders, and other serious consequences.
Researchers of the latest study caution against making assumptions and especially point out that no link can be made between traumatic brain injury and a propensity for criminal behavior. However, they do note that their findings suggest that youth have a higher rate of TBI than previously thought and that more needs to be done to understand and treat this injury. They also note that a minor who has suffered a serious injury as a result of assault and then undergoes the additional trauma of incarceration may need additional support and even medical treatment to prevent further trauma.
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