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Study warns on child concussion symptoms

CHICAGO - Children with even relatively mild concussions can have persistent attention and memory problems a year after their injuries, according to a study that helps identify which youths may be most at risk for lingering symptoms.

In most children with these injuries, symptoms resolve within a few months but the study results suggest that problems may linger for up to about 20 percent, said study author Keith Owen Yeates, a neuropsychologist at Ohio State University’s Center for Biobehaviorial Health.

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Problems like forgetfulness were more likely to linger than fatigue, dizziness, and other physical complaints, the study found.

Forgetfulness, paying attention, headaches, and fatigue were more common in study children who lost consciousness or who had other mild head trauma that caused brain abnormalities on imaging tests, compared with children who did not get knocked out or who had normal imaging test results. The study looked at symptoms up to a year after injury so it does not answer whether any children had longer-lasting or permanent problems.

The study included 186 children ages 8 to 15 with mild concussions and other mild brain injuries treated at two hospitals, in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. The reports are based on parents’ reports of symptoms up to 12 months after the injuries.

The results were published online Monday in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

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