Traumatic Stress after Pediatric Injury: Neurobiological Influences

Research

Traumatic Stress after Pediatric Injury: Neurobiological Influences

Principal Investigators

  • Linda Ewing-Cobbs, Ph.D., The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth)

Co-Principal Investigators

  • Charles S. Cox, Jr., MD
  • Jenifer Juranek, PhD
  • Larry Kramer, MD
  • Mary Prasad, PhD., University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth)
  • Paul R. Swank, PhD., University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth)

Funding Agency

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Description of the Project

This five-year study, funded through a $3 million grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is a continuation of several studies Ewing-Cobbs and colleagues have conducted on the overall effects of traumatic brain injury on a child’s neurodevelopment.  Annually, more than 8 million children under the age of 17 sustain some physical injury and nearly half a million children sustain traumatic brain injury. The study will examine changes to stress response systems during the year after children and adolescents ages 8-15 are hospitalized for traumatic brain and/or extracranial injuries sustained in motor vehicle collisions.

Psychological and physical stressors have been linked to several changes in the neurobiological stress response systems and brain function; chronic activation of stress response systems following injury to the brain has been linked to poor physical and psychological health. However, the impact of different types of injuries on stress response systems has rarely been studied.

The study will investigate the impact of injury on the biomarkers of three neurobiological stress response systems. In addition, it will examine the degree to which these biomarkers mediate the relation of injury characteristics to cognitive, neurobehavioral and psychological health outcomes. These outcomes include increased attention deficits, post-traumatic stress symptoms, memory dysfunction, inhibition problems, anxiety and depression.

Participants

Children and adolescents ages 8-15 who are hospitalized following significant traumatic brain and/or extracranial injuries sustained in motor vehicle collisions.

Sites

Houston, Texas

Timeline

  • 2011-2015

For More Information

Linda Ewing-Cobbs, Ph.D.
Director, Dan L. Duncan Neurodevelopmental Clinic
713-500-3873 
Linda.Ewing-Cobbs@uth.tmc.edu
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