Saliva Test May Help Diagnose Concussion
Clues from saliva could help accurately diagnose and predict the severity of concussions in children, say researchers at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Results of their small study on concussions were published in JAMA Pediatrics.
The researchers measured levels of microRNAs — tiny pieces of ribonucleic acid — in the saliva of children who had experienced concussion. MicroRNAs, which are found throughout the body, affect gene expression in response to disease or injury. The researchers found that the presence of certain microRNAs in saliva could identify concussions and predict symptom duration more accurately than patient surveys.
The study involved 52 concussion patients between 7 and 21 who were evaluated using the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT-3) within two weeks of their injury and again after at four weeks, and whose symptoms were reported by their parents. The researchers isolated five types of microRNAs that could accurately identify participants who would experience prolonged concussion symptoms.