Burnett & Williams

Trauma and Brain Development

Trauma and Brain Development

At Key Developmental Stages, Trauma Can Significantly Inhibit Brain Development

Our work brings us into daily contact with families that have suffered severe trauma, in accidents ranging from work injuries, to car crashes, to wrongful death cases. Recovering from life-changing injuries is always difficult for those involved, but it is especially hard on young children and teenagers.

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We always work to get the compensation needed to help our clients rebuild their lives as fully as possible, and we were not surprised to see that research shows that any trauma experienced during stages of early language development — around 2 years of age — and during the key mental development of the teenage years, can have a lasting impact on brain development.  According to MIT researcher Tara Swart, “traumatic experiences that occur during these time periods can alter brain activity and ultimately change gene expressions — sometimes forever.” Direct injuries and other involvement in trauma can have a permanent, long-term impact on an individual’s life.

Additional research is indicating that direct traumatic brain injuries in children can require a much longer recovery time than in adults. A mature brain typically show signs of recovery within five to ten days of a concussion. Laboratory research indicates that children’s brains may take up to ten times longer to recover fully from a concussion. During the recovery period a brain is especially vulnerable to longterm damage, and activity has to be limited significantly.

Young brains are particularly vulnerable to trauma and special care has to be taken during recovery to minimize longterm impact. If you or a loved one has been involved in a traumatic brain injury at any age, the Brain Injury Association of Virginia is an excellent resource for long-term care options. In Richmond and the Tri-cities region, the Brain Injury Rehabilitation program at Virginia Commonwealth University is outstanding. In Reston, Leesburg, and other parts of Northern Virginia, INOVA’s Neuroscience Institute has wide-ranging resources throughout a variety of health campuses.