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Boston Children's Hospital is actively involved in conducting research into the causes of, and best treatments for, childhood brain and head injury. Recent areas of research include the following:
Alex Taylor, PsyD, director of neuropsychology at the Brain Injury Center led this Kettering Family Foundation grant study to describe current return-to-learn (RTL) practices following concussion to help identify training needs within primary and secondary school populations in Massachusetts. Results of the study found that despite serving children at different developmental stages, school RTL practices are essentially the same in primary and secondary schools, highlighting the need for standardized, developmentally appropriate RTL plans and additional education for the providers and school personnel who implement them.
Alex Taylor, PsyD, led research on a Provider and Payor Quality Initiative (PPQI) grant study to review the management of minor blunt head trauma in children at tertiary care centers, given that relatively few children have traumatic brain injury (TBI) and even fewer require acute interventions. Based on findings of the study, the team proposed a three-pronged approach to decreasing the cost of care of these children and reducing the exposure to radiation from computed tomography (CT), while enhancing the quality of care.
Anesthesiologist Lynne Ferrari, MD, is conducting research to determine the incidence of symptomatic pediatric concussion, either known or unrecognized, in patients sustaining an orthopedic injury that requires surgical repair, and to examine the possible effects of anesthesia on postoperative symptoms.
Neuropsychologist Alex Taylor, PsyD, is conducting research to determine if vital signs obtained in the Emergency Department for patients presenting with concussion predict initial symptom burden or recovery time.
Michael J. O'Brien, MD, director of the Boston Children’s Sports Concussion Clinic is co-investigator on a study of MRI in patients with concussions that compares them to healthy subjects to identify acute changes and findings that indicate recovery.
Michael J. O'Brien, MD, is co-investigator on this multicenter study of factors related to recovery from sport-related concussion, such as cognitive rest, physical rest, cognitive and stimulant medications, and loss of consciousness, in determining prognosis.
Michael J. O'Brien, MD, is co-investigator on a two-part project studying the incidence of concussion (diagnosed and previously undiagnosed) in patients with sports-related injuries who require surgery. Patients who are identified with a concussion will be monitored for symptoms and have neurocognitive testing before and after anesthesia to determine if anesthesia prolongs recovery or has any other adverse effects on recovery.
David Howell, MD, is investigating specific factors that may contribute to a recovery time of more than a month after a sport-related concussion. The research aims to identify factors associated with longer recovery time soon after injury to help guide clinicians when making decisions about patient care. For more information, read these selected papers.
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”