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Children should reduce cognitive activity after concussion, study concludes

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Go back several decades and parents probably never gave it a second thought. Their children were out in the yard and knocked heads together, leaving them woozy. A concussion would not even cross their minds. Perhaps a son was playing pee wee football and had a head-on collision with an opposing team member. The little folks cry for a second and then get up and resume their activity.

Ah, but the year is now 2014, and everything is analyzed to an unreal degree. What was once a stubbed toe or a little cut on the knee is now a breeding ground for the MRSA bug. Those little knocks on the noggin now have the potential to be concussions. Seems crazy to think of, but recent scientific studies have shown that concussions can have long term effects.

One need look no further than the NFL to see the deadly effect that concussions can leave behind. Hundreds of players are dealing with long term problems, with several notable cases having led to gentlemen committing suicide as a result of CTE.

Concussions are being taken seriously now, with players not allowed to head back into a game when they feel okay. Independent medical personnel are there to evaluate each case, with mot players no longer allowed back on the field the same day.

That is why a recent study done by Boston Children's Hospital is getting a lot of attention from anxious parents. The research took 335 student athletes who were diagnosed with a concussion on the playing field. This group was followed for a period of time, examining what they did to overcome the concussion problems and how long it took.

The results showed that some popular kid activities may be a detriment to their recovery from a concussion. The study's data concluded that kids with concussions should be slowly weaned back into cognitive activities. In other words, doctors do not want them pushing their brain too hard in the short term.

That sounds like not having to do homework, which at first blush, is correct. Cognitive work can put strain on the brain, which might prolong the concussion symptoms. it should be noted though that homework is not the only thing doctors believe should be avoided.

The study suggests that video games should be avoided during the recovery period. Video games seem like an enjoyable escape for kids, but in reality, the brain hard during game play. This can lead to those concussion related symptoms to last longer.

Also on the list to avoid is texting. While that will be a surprise to most, it should not be. It turns out that texting is considered to need cognitive ability. Most would not think it requires a lot of thought. However, concentrating on a small screen, reading tiny fonts, and responding with miniscule keys can take its toll. Also, it takes some thought when considering what to respond to incoming texts.

Doctors have been pushing this course of action for awhile, but had nothing to back up their recommendations. Now the Boston Children's Hospital study has given them something to base their course of treatment on. There have also been positive results, as a result of their treatment plan. Children that got the most "cognitive rest" were the ones that saw their symptoms disappear quicker.

The research showed that it took around 40 days for a kid that minimized his cognitive work to be free from concussion related issues. Those that continued their normal routines could expect a much long recovery period. On average, patients that did not refrain from cognitive activities went another two months, or 100 days before they were symptom free.

More about this author: John Atchison

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