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Brain injury study reveals harmful behavior trends among teen girls

Your brain is essentially the control center of your body, and injuries to the brain can have short- and long-term consequences that, in many cases, must be monitored for years after the initial injury. Scientists, medical professionals and safety advocates continue to fight for better diagnoses and treatment of brain injuries, but more needs to be done.

Florida residents with brain injury concerns will be interested in a study out of Canada that looked at how brain injuries can lead to harmful health behaviors among teenagers. Perhaps most remarkable about the study are the findings on how brain injuries can affect the behavior of teenage girls.

Researchers looked at a survey of about 9,300 students, all of whom were in grades 7 through 12. One out of five of those students responded that at some point they had suffered a brain injury. The researchers defined a brain injury as a hit to the head that resulted in an overnight hospital stay or loss of consciousness for five or more minutes.

The researchers also identified 13 harmful health behaviors and found that kids who had suffered brain trauma were more likely than their uninjured peers to engage in those behaviors, including smoking, binge drinking, drug use, suicidal thoughts and being bullied.

Remarkably, girls with brain injuries were more likely than boys to engage in all 13 types of harmful behavior, while boys with brain injuries were likely to engage in only nine types of harmful behavior.

The lead author of the study said that the noted difference is likely due to "a variety of interactive factors, both biological and social." Hormones, for example, along with gender-specific socialization, are likely the factors that led to a higher rate of harmful behavior among teenage girls.

It was also noted that the harmful behaviors linked to brain trauma during teenage years can lead to mental health and addiction problems later in life.

Parents want to do what is in their power to protect their children from harm. When another party's negligence causes a child's brain injury, it is important that parents explore their legal options for receiving the compensation they need to cover the appropriate medical treatment and monitoring.

Our Child Accident overview has more on these matters.

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