Teenage Brains Particularly Vulnerable to Concussions
Jim LiebeltJim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim has over 25 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, and has been on the HomeWord staff since 1998. He has served over the years as a pastor, author, youth ministry trainer, adjunct college instructor and speaker. Jim’s culture blog and parenting articles appear on HomeWord.com. Jim is a contributing author of culture and parenting articles to Crosswalk.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Olympia, WA.
- 2012 Feb 29
Teens may be more vulnerable to the effects of concussions than either adults or younger children, a new study says.
In the study, teens had larger impairments on tests of working memory — the ability to process and store short-term information in the brain, which is needed for learning — six months after they suffered a concussion compared with adults and children.
The region of the brain responsible for working memory, known as the frontal lobe, undergoes a growth spurt during adolescence, making it more fragile and susceptible to the effects of concussions, said study researcher David Ellemberg, a professor of kinesiology at the University of Montréal in Quebec.
Deficits in working memory can impair a person's ability do everyday things, such as multitasking, Ellemberg said.
Teens between ages 13 and 16 who had experienced a concussion had worse working memory abilities compared with teens their age who had not had a concussion. This difference was not seen in children ages 9 to 12, or adults.
The study was published in the journal Brain Injury.