Tags: blood | test | concussions | teens | biomarker

Scientists Develop Game-Changing Blood Test for Concussions

Scientists Develop Game-Changing Blood Test for Concussions

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By    |   Tuesday, 08 November 2016 12:51 PM


A new blood test can identify whether or not a teen has suffered a concussion. The test, developed by scientists from Children's Health Research and Western University spots brain injuries with an accuracy greater than 90 percent.

Correctly diagnosing a concussion in adolescent athletes can be difficult since it relies on symptoms reported by the patient combined with professional judgment.

If a teen is determined to have suffered a concussion, it's often difficult for a professional to determine when it's safe for the patient to return to normal activities.

In the new study, researchers showed that a blood test can accurately diagnose a concussion using a form of blood profiling known as metabolomics.

For the test, which is relatively inexpensive, blood is drawn from an individual that may have suffered a concussion within 72 hours of the incident.

Scientists examine metabolites — small molecules that are the products of the body's metabolism — in the blood to search for distinct patterns that indicate a concussion has occurred.

"This novel approach, to use blood testing of metabolites as a diagnostic tool for concussions, was exploratory and we were extremely pleased with the robustness of our initial results," says pediatrician Douglas Fraser.

"We looked at a host of patterns and it appears that those who suffered a concussion have a very different pattern than those who have not had a concussion."

Previous studies had looked unsuccessfully for a single biomarker that would spot concussions. The new method, however, investigated a full spectrum of 174 metabolites.

"We looked at all of these metabolites in concussed male adolescent patients and in non-concussed male adolescent patients and it turns out that the spectrum is really different," said researcher Mark Daley.

"There is no one metabolite that we can put a finger on but when we looked at all of them, those profiles are different enough that we could easily distinguish concussed patients from non-concussed.

"In fact, with fine tuning we can now look at sets of as few as 20-40 specific metabolites and maintain the diagnostic accuracy level of the test over 90 percent," Daley said.

"The discovery of a blood test that can aid in concussion diagnosis is very important," says Fraser. "With further research, we anticipate that our blood test will also aid clinicians in predicting concussion outcome, as well as aid rehabilitation after concussion."

The findings were recently published in the international journal Metabolomics.

According to a recent study by the UC San Francisco, the number of concussions in adolescents is rising. The study, which was published in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine, found an overall 60 percent increase in concussions from 2007 to 2014 with the largest growth in ages 10-14 at 143 percent and 15-19 at 87 percent.

A possible reason for the increase, said researchers, is the increased participation in sports.
 

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A new blood test can identify whether or not a teen has suffered a concussion. The test, developed by scientists from Children's Health Research and Western University spots brain injuries with an accuracy greater than 90 percent. Correctly diagnosing a concussion in...
blood, test, concussions, teens, biomarker
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2016-51-08
Tuesday, 08 November 2016 12:51 PM
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