New blood test shows concussion

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New evidence of concussions - blood test to bring certainty

In sports such as basketball, ice hockey or soccer, in the heat of the moment there are repeated falls and blows to the head, which can lead to a concussion. Undetected, traumatic brain injury, as it is called in medicine, can have serious consequences for players. If bleeding or swelling in the brain is not treated quickly enough, these injuries can result in greater damage. It can usually be enough that the player is simply removed from the field.

Persistent head and neck pain can be an indication Concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury to the brain in which there are no visible injuries to the head due to lacerations or fractures of the skull bones. Typical symptoms include nausea or vomiting, severe or persistent headache and neck pain.

However, the athletes do not always notice that they have been seriously injured and the sports medics do not have the devices at the edge of the field for reliable quick diagnosis, as is the case in medical practices and hospitals. Until now, concussion could only be diagnosed reliably using computer or magnetic resonance imaging. On site, doctors can only estimate the extent of an injury using simple cognitive tests.

Together with US colleagues on behalf of the National Institutes of Health, doctors at the Klinikum rechts der Isar Munich have now developed a first rapid test that can be used to detect the smallest injuries in the brain with a drop of blood from the fingertip, according to the Munich doctors.

Protein as a reliable indicator According to the scientists, a protein (S100B) in the blood that increases after a concussion can provide a reliable statement about a concussion. In a study with 46 athletes, the scientists were able to show that a concussion occurs when the S100B protein has increased by more than 45 percent compared to the normal value, according to the results of the study, which were published in the current issue of the journal "PLOS ONE" .

"The protein S100B is already used in clinical practice as a supporting criterion for deciding whether a computed tomography examination is necessary after traumatic brain injury," says Prof. Peter Biberthaler, Director of the Clinic for Trauma Surgery at the Clinic on the right of the Isar Munich. However, the blood test must be refined before it can be used for mass use, because the S100B values ​​differ from person to person and an increase also takes place during physical exertion. (fr)

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Video: Blood test explored for concussion management

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