Study Shows Children with TBI At Risk to Develop Endocrine Disorders

At Silverman, McDonald & Friedman, our Delaware personal injury attorneys can help if you or your child suffered a traumatic brain injury. We work with clients out of our Newark, Seaford, Newark, and Wilmington offices.

A recent study revealed a potential impact of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) on the endocrine system in pediatric patients. The endocrine system regulates hormones, a vital part of the maturity process for children. This research, carried out as a joint effort between the Phoenix Children’s Hospital and the University of Arizona College of Medicine, is the first statewide study of its kind.

What is a TBI?

A traumatic brain injury typically results from a blow or jolt to the head or body. This can happen from a child playing sports, in a car accident, or (in tragic cases) from child abuse. The CDC reports that, in 2104, over 837,000 children were either injured or killed from a TBI-related event. A TBI can range from severe to mild (often called a “concussion”).

Endocrine system disruption after a TBI

The Translational Neurotrauma Research Program, a partnership between the Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and the University of Arizona College of Medicine, recently published a paper in Frontiers in Neurology. The study analyzed State of Arizona health records from children (patients under age 18) who suffered TBIs and later diagnosed with endocrine disorders not previously recorded.

They identified 498 children over a five-year period, concluding that youths with TBIs are three times as likely as their non-injured peers to develop endocrine disorders. Researchers also noted that the females studied were more likely to present with an endocrine system diagnose than males. However, they noted this could be more for social reasons than physiological.

“When we hear about the masculine phenotype of keeping your feelings and your symptoms to yourself, the chance of you reporting them are lower. That’s the prevailing hypothesis, which needs additional data and additional precision,” said co-author Jonathan Lifshitz, a professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine Phoenix.

Because the endocrine system affects hormone regulation, any disruption of this important system can have a ripple effect throughout the entire body. This can include regulation of blood sugar (diabetes), pituitary disorders, or blood pressure complications. In turn, a child can suffer untreated health problems that may also result in behavioral disorders or learning problems.

“Considering the precious little time for childhood development, a delay in recognizing endocrine dysfunction can leave individuals with a lifetime of additional health care issues and costs,” Lifshitz added. “Further, the endocrine disorders are easily treatable by endocrinologists.”

The authors of the study advise medical practitioners screen children with traumatic brain injuries for endocrine disorders within six months of injury. And, as a parent or guardian, you should also be aware of this risk and seek medical attention immediately if your child is in an accident.

When you’re injured due to someone else’s negligence, the personal injury attorneys at Silverman, McDonald & Friedman can help. Call us at 302-888-2900 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We have offices in Wilmington, Newark, Newark, and Seaford.