Recovery of intellectual ability following traumatic brain injury in childhood: impact of injury severity and age at injury

Pediatr Neurosurg. 2000 Jun;32(6):282-90. doi: 10.1159/000028956.


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) may have a profound impact on a child's ongoing development. Various risk factors have been found to predict outcome, but considerable variability remains unexplained. This study used a prospective, longitudinal design to examine the relationship between recovery, injury severity, age at injury and pre-injury ability. 124 children were divided according to (1) age at injury: 'young' (3-7 years) 'old' (8-12) and (2) injury severity (mild, moderate, severe). Children were evaluated acutely (T1) and at 12 months post-injury (T2), using standardized intellectual measures (IQ). Results showed a relationship between greater injury severity and poorer IQ. Age at injury was not predictive of outcome for children with mild/moderate TBI. For severe TBI, younger age at injury led to minimal recovery in IQ, while recovery from later injury was similar to that for adults. Findings suggest that children sustaining severe TBI in early childhood may be particularly at risk for residual problems post-injury.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Age Factors
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Brain Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Brain Injuries / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Intelligence*
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recovery of Function
  • Time Factors
  • Trauma Severity Indices
  • Wechsler Scales