Although most of the 3 million concussions diagnosed in the U.S. each year occur in children, the bulk of clinical guidelines are based on adults. Because of this, pediatricians are limited in how accurately they can advise families about how long a child may suffer symptoms such as headaches, fatigue and trouble concentrating that can interfere with school and other activities.
New research being presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting, however, suggests a simple saliva test may yield more answers. Investigators will present an abstract of the study, "Peripheral microRNA patterns predict prolonged concussion symptoms in pediatric patients," on Saturday, May 6, at the Moscone West Convention Center.
Micro ribonucleic acids (miRNAs) are genetic molecules, chiefly found within cells, that help regulate protein production. Previous studies have found altered miRNA levels in the saliva of children with mild concussions. This mirrored similar miRNA changes in cerebrospinal fluid, which cushions the brain and spinal cord, of patients with severe brain injury.
Additional related articles include:
- Jeter, C. B. et al. (2012). Biomarkers for the Diagnosis and Prognosis of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury/Concussion, Journal of Neurotrauma, 30(8). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/232245371_Biomarkers_for_the_Diagnosis_and_Prognosis_of_Mild_Traumatic_Brain_InjuryConcussion
- Southern, S. O. (2014). Saliva-based biomarkers for TBI diagnostics, SPIE Sensing Technologies & Applications Symposium, Conference 9112 Sensing Technologies for Global Health, Military Medicine, and Environmental Monitoring IV, Baltimore, MD, May 6 2014. http://gaiamedical.com/Site/Documents/2014%20SPIE%20Abstract%20TBI.pdf
- Stashenko, P. (2016, February). Taking Concussions Head-On: Part II, Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/philip-stashenko-dmd-phd/taking-concussions-headon_1_b_8980382.html
- Zetterberg, H. et al. (2016). Update on Fluid Biomarkers for Concussion, Concussion, 1(3). http://www.futuremedicine.com/doi/full/10.2217/cnc-2015-0002