Iranian Journal of Child Neurology,
Vol. 2 No. 2 (2008),
8 November 2008
Minor trauma to the head is common in childhood and does not require any medical or surgical treatment. Nevertheless, head injury in infancy and childhood is the single most common cause of death and permanent disability. Measurable deficits occur even after mild to moderate head injury but are markedly greater after severe injury. They include impaired cognition, motor impairments, disruption of attention and information processing, and psychiatric disturbances. Despite the frequency of the sequelae of head injury in childhood, there is relatively little information about the structural basis of the clinical deficits. Classical literature suggests that the immature brain and its coverings, at a time when it is rapidly acquiring new information, respond differently from the adult brain when subjected to an equivalent amount of mechanical force, whether mediated by contact or inertial loading. Identification of different patterns of injury in different age groups has resonance in clinical practice and now provides a reference point for future clinical and neuropathological studies. This work not only provides the basis for the future management of patients, but also serves to remind us of the continuing value of the autopsy and the proper examination of retained organs using modernstandardized techniques.