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About SickKids

June 29, 2012

SickKids researchers weigh in on Humpty Dumpty’s traumatic fall

By: Daniella Vasilovsky

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men, couldn’t put Humpty back together again.

How will Humpty receive treatment? Will he suffer any short or long-term effects? How can we prevent Humpty from falling again in the future?

These questions were addressed as community members gathered to learn about traumatic brain injury (TBI) at the Hard Rock Cafe, Toronto on Wednesday, June 27. SickKids researchers, Drs. Jamie Hutchinson and Maureen Dennis and PhD candidate Linda Rothman, led the discussion at SickKids Cafe Scientifique - Humpty Dumpty had a great Fall: Prevention, treatment, outcomes for traumatic brain injury, engaging the audience and providing their insights.

Dr. Jamie Hutchinson
, critical care physician and scientist at SickKids, kicked off the discussion by naming TBI as the most common cause of death and acquired disability in children. Despite the advancements in scientific research, the prevalence of TBI in children is increasing, causing the hospitalization of one in 1000 people under the age of 20. Hutchison emphasized that TBI is not an outcome, but the start of a misdiagnosed, misunderstood and under-funded neurological disease. His presentation stated that individuals who sustain brain injuries should be granted personalized therapy in order to live a healthy, independent and satisfying lifestyle.

Dr. Maureen Dennis, senior scientist in psychology at SickKids, furthered the conversation by focusing on the behavioural, educational and psychosocial outcomes of acquired TBI. She discussed the importance of considering an individual’s social world and seeking out a prediction model to identify specific personal characteristics that will allow for targeted intervention to achieve better outcomes.

Dr. Linda Rothman, PhD candidate at the Institute of Medical Science, U of T, added to the Humpty allegory with her research on brain injury prevention. She stressed that brain injuries are not accidents and are both predictable and preventable. Proper education, physical engineering, legislation enforcement –the three Es- are proactive strategies that Rothman adds, will aid in the prevention and reduction of TBI among children.

As the speakers concluded the discussion, the moderator, Jane Gibson, Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs, opened up the floor for a question and answer session. A range of questions were asked, from whether the new mandatory legislation of bicycle helmets has reduced TBI among children, to if it was possible for the social and personality changes in children post- TBI to be reversed. Overall, the audience was very engaged and offered their own perspectives on brain injury in children.

This Cafe Scientifique portrays SickKids commitment to reducing the impact of traumatic brain injury in children and our ongoing dedication to Healthier Children. A Better World. Community based discussions like Cafe Scientifique enable SickKids to include the public in knowledge translation of health issues affecting children.  

SickKids Cafe Scientifique is supported by the SickKids Research Institute, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs. Stay tuned to our SickKids events calendar for upcoming Café Scientifiques.