Who Is Being Studied?

The study involves children and adolescents, ages 10-17 years, from one of the following two groups:

Children and adolescents with a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI, concussion):

  • Not more than 72 hours ago
  • With no previously diagnosed neurological disorder (e.g., epilepsy, multiple sclerosis))
  • With no previously diagnosed TBI
  • Being fluent in German

Children and adolescents without a previous mild traumatic brain injury (comparison control group):

  • With no previously diagnosed neurological disorder (e.g., epilepsy, multiple sclerosis)
  • Being fluent in German

What is going to happen?

A set of examinations are performed at three different points in time – within 72 hours of the injury, 6 months later and after one year. Parents/legal guardians will also be asked to answer various questions about the child’s health from their point of view.

In detail, one test point includes:

  • Clinical Interview with a pediatrician: The participant and parents/legal guardians will be asked questions concerning the previous medical history including illnesses and intake of medications if applicable. In case of patients who have suffered mTBI, details on the accident and associated symptoms will be discussed in detail.
  • Clinical-neurological examination conducted by a pediatrician trained in child neurology: The neurological examination includes examination of the cranial nerves, gross and fine motor skills, the motor and the sensory system. A balance test on a so-called force plate complements the neurological assessment. The stage of puberty is clinically determined as well.
  • Blood sampling: Blood is collected to determine specific hormones and proteins associated with inflammatory reactions released by the brain after a mild traumatic brain injury.
  • Mood and behavior: The child and his/her parents will be asked to answer some questionnaires on sports/hobbies, friendship/social integration and school. Also, they are asked for concerns, fears or problems and to health-related quality of life.
  • Cognition: The child performs a set of standardized tests to assess reaction speed, memory, and attention. At the second appointment at 6 months after the initial injury, a short, standardized intelligence test is carried out.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): This examination involves taking pictures of the brain for which the child will be asked to lie very still in a tube-like structure of the apparatus for about 60 minutes. The MRI uses neither X-rays nor any contrast agent, meaning it is not harmful to the health of a child.

Participation in each part of the testing procedure is voluntary. An examination appointment takes about 4 to 5 hours.

As an expense allowance for participating in the study, participants receive 100€ per testing time point (i.e., a total of 400 € for all four timepoints).

Study Locations

The study is being conducted at the Concussion Clinic for Children and Adolescents.
Department of Paediatric Neurology, Developmental Neurology, Social Paediatrics
LMU Center for Children with Medical Complexity – iSPZ Hauner
Dr. von Hauner Children’s Hospital
LMU Hospital, Lindwurmstr. 4, 80337 Munich, Germany

Why Is This Research Project Important?

Scientific Background:

A mild traumatic brain injury can lead to physical complaints such as impaired vision, headaches, dizziness and nausea. Most children and adolescents recover within days to one to two weeks. However, some patients suffer from longer lasting symptoms, for example headaches, impaired cognitive function or decreased speed of reaction. Our aim is to better understand changes of the brain that may occur after concussion. We suspect that specific hormones influence the trajectory of recovery of the brain after mild traumatic brain injury. Furthermore, we also suspect differences in the trajectory of recovery between girls and boys. In order to figure out these aspects, we examine children and adolescents after mild traumatic brain injury and compare their data to data of peers that have not suffered a concussion.

Aims and Impact of this Study:

The results of this study will help understanding the impact of mild traumatic brain injury in childhood and adolescents. For the future, we hope this knowledge will inform the management after mild traumatic brain injury in childhood and adolescence to promote a complete recovery.