Blood Test Developed At Least 90 Percent Accurate In Identifying Concussions In Young Athletes


Researchers have developed a new blood test with more than 90 percent accuracy to determine whether an adolescent athlete has concussion.

Diagnosing a mild brain injury is quite a tough task, as it involves a combination of accurate clinical judgment and patient symptom assessment. Meanwhile, making decisions on whether a patient can start or stop physical activities after the injury is also a difficult task altogether.

Metabolomics To Detect Concussion

To resolve this issue, the researchers have developed a novel blood-profiling test to determine whether an individual has suffered a concussion recently. The blood test is referred to as metabolomics.

For the purpose of the blood-profiling test, blood is drawn from a person who has suffered a severe blow to the head within 72 hours of the accident. The metabolites, resultant molecules of the body's metabolic processes, present in the blood are measured. When a distinct pattern is obtained while measuring a panel of metabolites, it is an indication that a concussion has occurred.

New Blood Test For Concussion

Dr. Douglas Fraser, a physician in the Paediatric Critical Care Unit at Children's Hospital, noted that making simple blood test for assessing the metabolites in order to find the presence of concussion is a very new approach. He also noted that the initial results were very encouraging.

Fraser said that when a host of patterns of metabolites were analyzed, it was observed that the pattern varied distinctly between concussed and non-concussed individuals.

It is noted that this method of testing for mild brain injury is "unique" since it involves analyzing a host of 174 metabolites while a number of methods developed earlier looked into one or the other highly accurate protein biomarker.

Analysis To Find Concussion

Mark Daley, a professor at Western University, noted that when all the 174 metabolites were tested in both non-concussed and concussed adolescent males, it was found that the metabolites' spectrum was much different between the two groups.

Daley also noted that no one specific metabolite could help in determining whether a patient had concussion. However, their patterns as a whole is useful in distinguishing the non-concussed people from concussed patients. It is observed that analyzing sets of 20 to 40 metabolites would help in diagnosing concussion with about 90 percent accuracy.

"The discovery of a blood test that can aid in concussion diagnosis is very important," said Fraser in a press release. "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 study is published online in the journal Metabolomics on Oct. 28.

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