Spit Test Could Reveal Concussion Severity (Study)

A concussion can sometimes be a lot more dangerous than most people believe. It is important to know when it is going to subside or at least, how much it is going to persist. Now, a new test is showing a lot more potential in finding an answer to these questions than the concussion survey currently being commonly used by physicians. There is also a study which shows the way the test works. A detailed research paper was published in the JAMA Pediatrics.

How the New Spit Test Works

The spit test measures fragments of genetic material from saliva. According to results, the test is 90 percent accurate. The currently used concussion survey is less accurate than this value. Researchers mentioned that this experimental test can help patients and doctors alike. Pediatricians can use a swab to collect saliva and get it to the lab. The next day, they would be able to tell the results to the family.

Preliminary results for the spit test study were presented in May by Steven Hicks, the lead researcher. He mentioned having consulted with companies that might market the spit test. This kind of analysis could help assess and treat concussions. These latter affect over 1 million adolescents and children in the US annually. Most of the injuries are sports-related.

Despite the fact that, in most of the cases, the symptoms of the concussion last only a few days, there are some which last a lot longer. More than 25 percent of patients suffer from nausea, fatigue, and headaches for more than one month.

The researchers tested 50 concussion patients who were aged between 7 and 18. After a concussion, the injured cells of the brain try to heal themselves.To do so, cells release genetic material fragments named microRNAs. These turn up in the saliva and in the blood. The researchers measured the levels of microRNAs from the samples. Based on these, they managed to identify some indicators that could predict the extent of the concussion.

Researchers were able to identify how long the concussion symptoms will last. They also found one microRNA which predicts if children would have some specific concussion symptom, difficulties with problem solving, or memory.

This spit test could improve the care for people who don’t have concussion symptoms. In this case, without the test, it is very hard to find the concussion and know how to treat it. This new sort of test could ensure doctors and parents that their children and patients are healed.

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