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

Umbilical cells help eye's neurons connect

November 24, 2015

Cells isolated from human umbilical cord tissue have been shown to produce molecules that help retinal neurons from the eyes of rats grow, connect and survive, according to Duke University researchers working with Janssen ...

Brain connections predict how well you can pay attention

November 24, 2015

During a 1959 television appearance, Jack Kerouac was asked how long it took him to write his novel On The Road. His response – three weeks – amazed the interviewer and ignited an enduring myth that the book was composed ...

No cable spaghetti in the brain

November 24, 2015

Our brain is a mysterious machine. Billions of nerve cells are connected such that they store information as efficiently as books are stored in a well-organized library. To this date, many details remain unclear, for instance ...

Neurons encoding hand shapes identified in human brain

November 23, 2015

Neural prosthetic devices, which include small electrode arrays implanted in the brain, can allow paralyzed patients to control the movement of a robotic limb, whether that limb is attached to the individual or not. In May ...

Wireless sensor enables study of traumatic brain injury

November 23, 2015

A new system that uses a wireless implant has been shown to record for the first time how brain tissue deforms when subjected to the kind of shock that causes blast-induced trauma commonly seen in combat veterans.


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.