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Study finds mild brain injury has little effect on young psychiatric patients

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Among children with psychiatric disorders, those who have suffered minor traumatic brain injuries are virtually indistinguishable from those who have not, according to a study led by a University of Iowa College of Medicine researcher.

"It should be a caution to child psychiatrists, pediatricians and educators," says

Dr. Jeffrey E. Max, UI assistant professor of psychiatry. "Before attributing the child's problems to brain injury, they need to look very closely at other factors."

Max says a chart review of patients at a child psychiatry outpatient clinic over a three-year period matched children who had suffered mild brain injuries with those who had not by age, sex, race and social class. A comparison revealed little difference in psychiatric diagnoses, use of special education services and IQ scores.

The results of the study were published in the March 1997 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.