On NPR this morning, I listened to a report regarding Concussion research. A Penn State team has been working on new tests to give more accurate diagnosis of concussions in children and adolescents. Currently, a concussion survey commonly used by doctors was right less than 70 percent of the time.
When a child has a concussion, the symptoms may last from a few days to months. What parents want to know is when will their child get better. Doctors cannot answer that question with the current tests. A reliable test would help overcome a major obstacle in assessing and treating concussions.
The researchers at Penn State knew that after a concussion injury, brain cells try to heal themselves by releasing tiny fragments of genetic material called microRNAs. Some of these fragments turn up in the blood and saliva. According to Steven Hicks, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Penn State Hershey, during some of the testing, researchers were able to identify a handful of cases that let them predict how long symptoms would last. They also identified one microRNA that predicted which children would have a specific concussion symptom: difficulties with memory and problem solving.
Concussion researchers are hoping to design reliable lab tests (blood and/or saliva) that will answer the question of the length of healing time of a concussion in the near future. More studies need to be done on a larger group of people until such tests are available according to this report.
Here’s to your Brain’s Health!
Kim Lowrey, Certified Colon Hydrotherapist
Colon Hydrotherapy Center, Fayetteville, AR