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article imageReview: Teenager concussion warnings explained in new book Special

By Tim Sandle     May 4, 2015 in Health
The brain of a young adult is very vulnerable and concussion can cause long-term, sometimes irreversible damage. A neuroscientist and mom is seeking to raise awareness among parents about the risks along with the safety precautions kids should take.
Dr. Frances E. Jensen is a mother and a renowned neuroscientist. To highlight risks association with concussion and young people, the scientist has drawn on her own research, parenting knowledge and clinical experience to offer a new look at the adolescent brain.
In doing so, Frances was motivated by her experience of parenting two teenagers. She was particularly concerned about how many important scientific facts are not been made accessible to the public.
One of Dr. Jensen’s main interests is how concussions and head trauma affect the still developing brains of teenagers. To explain these issues, Dr. Jensen has written a new book, which appears on the New York Times Best Seller list. The book is called The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults (published by Harper Collins.) The book is co-written with Amy Ellis Nutt.
Dr. Jensen is well qualified to write on this subject. She is currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. She also lectures widely about the teen brain at science museums, TEDMED, and high schools.
As we writes, the teenage years encompass “vitally important states of brain development… full of unique vulnerabilities and exceptional strengths”.
The book contains some interesting facts regarding teens and brain injuries. These include:
Girls are suffering from concussions at a far greater rate than boys.
Repeated concussions during adolescence can harm mental and scholastic performance.
Concussions affect teens and adults differently.
Some people have a genetic predisposition to concussions?
The range and severity of symptoms — from dizziness to epilepsy and permanent brain damage — can surface immediately or be delayed for days, weeks, or even months.
Jensen covers topics as diverse as risk-taking, gaming, bullying and social media (“the digital invasion of the teenage brain”) to gender, stress, severe mental illness, food disorders, suicide and criminal convictions (as they relate to brain maturation).
In the book, Dr. Jensen writes: “Because the teenage brain is still developing, the injury is a trauma not just to a piece of gray matter but also to what would have been had the brain continued to develop without incident.”
One risk area is sports. A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that can occur in both contact and non-contact sports. A concussion is a bump, jolt or blow to either the head or body that causes the brain to move quickly back and forth, and or twist within the skull.
If this subject interests you, or you have teenage children and are worried about sports injuries and the subject of concussion, the thoughtful and well-written book is worth getting hold of.
More about concussion, Sports, Teenagers, Head injury
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