A new study into diagnosing concussion has found a connection between concussion and processing sound, which could be a step in the right direction for assisting with diagnosis.
Researchers from Northwestern University’s Neuroscience Laboratory have found a biomarker in the auditory system that could accurately diagnose concussion. The researchers studied a sample of 40 children being treated for a concussion and a control group to see if auditory stimuli and responses would show a pattern in children who had sustained a concussion.
Nina Kraus, lead author on the research commented, “The biomarker could take the guesswork out of concussion diagnosis and management.
Making sense of sound requires the brain to perform some of the most computationally complex jobs it is capable of, which is why it is not surprising that a blow to the head would disrupt this delicate machinery.”
Looking at the neural responses, researchers successfully identified 90% of children who has sustained a concussion and 95% of children who had not.
Other research into concussion has also been looking at tests to ensure that athletes do not return to contact sport too soon after sustaining a concussion. This research taking place in the US is looking at protein levels in the blood as an indicator as to when someone has recovered adequately to return to sport.
Blood tests taken from the athletes looked at the level of tau found in the blood following a diagnosis of concussion, as well as pre-season blood tests in a control group. However, unlike the biomarker in the study of auditory stimuli, this biomarker could indicate the level of recovery from a concussion and whether someone was actually fit to return to play.
The tau levels were monitored across several time plans, including; 6 hours after the injury and 1, 3 and 7 days after the injury. The results showed that of those athletes who were not cleared by a doctor to return to playing 10 days after a diagnosis of a concussion, 61% had significantly higher levels of tau in their blood across all tests.
Both of these studies show promising steps in the right direction to help with diagnosis of a concussion, as well as more accurate ways to check if someone has recovered from their injury, without relying on physical signs or self-reporting from the injured person themselves.
Concussion can often be hard to diagnose, particularly when there has only been a small knock to the head. However, the consequences of a concussion and continuing to participate in activities such as contact sport can be extremely dangerous.
If you have sustained a head injury you should always get the advice of a doctor and give yourself adequate time to recover. You may also be eligible to claim compensation for your injuries if these were due to an accident that wasn’t your fault. You should always speak to specialist head injury solicitors who have the expertise to truly understand your injuries and the symptoms you are experiencing.