Research Horizons


Brain Trauma Linked to ADHD Risk

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) sends more than 1 million children, adolescents and young adults to emergency departments every year in the United States. A study published March 19, 2018, in JAMA Pediatrics found that moderate to severe injuries can increase the risk for onset of attention-deficit/hyperactivity (ADHD) for up to seven years after injury.


“The findings from this study have important clinical implications and support the need for post-injury monitoring for attention problems and planning clinical follow-up children with traumatic brain injury,” says Brad Kurowski, MD, Division of Rehabilitation Medicine, who co-authored the study with Megan Narad, PhD, Rehabilitation Medicine.

The team studied parent-provided assessments of children ages 3 to 7 who were hospitalized overnight for TBI or orthopaedic injury at four Ohio hospitals from 2003 to 2008. One-fourth of the children (48 out of 187) met the definition of having secondary ADHD.

The four Ohio hospitals involved were Cincinnati Children’s, Nationwide Children’s Hospital (Columbus), Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital (Cleveland) and MetroHealth Medical Center (Cleveland).

Publication Information
Original title: Secondary Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Children and Adolescents 5 to 10 Years After Traumatic Brain Injury
Published in: JAMA Pediatrics
Publish date: March 19, 2018
Read the study

Research By

Brad Kurowski, MD, MS
Division of Rehabilitation Medicine
Kurowski studies the genetic influence on cognitive and behavioral recovery after pediatric traumatic brain injury; improving evidence-based management of pediatric TBI