Can traumatic brain injury impair a child's working memory?

September 26, 2013
©2013 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) during childhood can have long-term effects on cognitive and psychosocial functioning, including poor academic achievement. Pediatric TBI can cause significant deficits in working memory, as demonstrated in a study published in Journal of Neurotrauma.

Working memory is the ability to collect, retain, and use information needed to perform tasks and respond to immediate demands. Amery Treble and coauthors from University of Houston, Texas and University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston used brain imaging studies to measure verbal and visuospatial working memory in a group of children who sustained TBI and a control group who did not. The comparison showed poorer visuospatial working memory in the pediatric TBI group, which was associated with disruptions in brain connectivity between neural networks that underlie working memory.

In the article "Working Memory and Corpus Callosum Microstructural Integrity after Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury: A Diffusion Tensor Tractography Study," the authors propose that the identification of neuroanatomical biomarkers indicative of these changes in brain microstructure might allow for early identification of children at increased risk for impaired working memory and for earlier intervention.

"While confirming the longstanding belief that the is consistently involved with traumatic brain, this study's exquisite regionally specific analyses of callosal integrity, together with its evaluation of in a pediatric brain-injured population, make this a particularly important contribution to the field of pediatric TBI," says John T. Povlishock, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Neurotrauma and Professor, VCU Neuroscience Center, Medical College of Virginia, Richmond.

Explore further: Disability caused by traumatic brain injury in children may persist and stop improving after 2 years

More information: The article is available free on the Journal of Neurotrauma website at

Related Stories

Have a brain injury? You may be at higher risk for stroke

June 26, 2013

People who have a traumatic brain injury (TBI) may be more likely to have a future stroke, according to research that appears in the June 26, 2013, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of ...

Recommended for you

Drug used to treat cancer appears to sharpen memory

October 2, 2015

Can you imagine a drug that would make it easier to learn a language, sharpen your memory and help those with dementia and Alzheimer's disease by rewiring the brain and keeping neurons alive?

Brain chemical aids tic control in Tourette Syndrome

October 1, 2015

A chemical in the brain could potentially be harnessed to help young people with Tourette Syndrome (TS) to overcome the physical and vocal tics associated with the neurological disorder, say researchers.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.