How Serious is a Concussion?

A Penn State team told attendees at the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting held recently in San Francisco, CA, that a test measuring fragments of genetic material in saliva was about 90% accurate in measuring concussion symptoms. Particularly, the test predicts whether a child or adolescent’s concussion symptoms will last for a few days or persist for weeks or even months. Up until now, doctors use a concussion survey that is only accurate about 70% of the time. If this experimental test proves accurate, a pediatrician could swab a child and notify parents of the test results the following day.

Whenever an individual suffers a concussion, injured brain cells try to repair themselves. As part of the healing process, brain cells release tiny fragments of genetic material, or microRNAs. These fragments eventually show up in the individual’s blood and saliva. The researchers’ study looked at microRNAs from 50 concussion patients between the ages of 7 and 18 in saliva samples taken about one week after their injuries. The levels of certain microRNAs predicted how long the concussion symptoms would last. One type of microRNA even indicated which children would have difficulties with memory and problem-solving.

Concussions affect more than one million children and teenagers each year in the United States; most of these incidents result from sports activities. In the vast majority of cases of children and teenagers with concussion, symptoms last only few days, but in about 25% of cases, patients have symptoms of nausea, fatigue, and prolonged headaches for a period of one to four months. The new spit test could tell parents when they can expect their child to return to normal and whether their child is likely to have long-term problems. Even more importantly, the test results could facilitate the treatment of children who don’t have obvious signs of concussions, by ensuring that they don’t return to the soccer field or the classroom before the concussion is healed.

When you or a family member suffers serious injuries from a slip and fall or any other type of accident, and another’s negligence caused the accident, you may have a personal injury claim under Wisconsin law. Meeting with a personal injury lawyer is the first step toward getting the compensation that you deserve for the injuries that you have suffered. Call Boller & Vaughan today at (608) 268-0268, or contact us online in order to set up an appointment with one of our Wisconsin personal injury attorneys, and see what we can do for you.


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