Biomarker for concussion discovered

Posted Dec 29, 2016 by Tim Sandle
After someone has been involved in an accident, or following a tough session on the sports field, assessing concussion is difficult for it takes time for symptoms to emerge. For earlier detection scientists have discovered a biomarker.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams - September  2016
Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams - September, 2016
Keith Allison
The new measure is based around the brain's ability to process sound and assessing this is key to assessing whether a person has concussion. This is the basis of new research from Northwestern University's Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory. Concussion, also known as minor head trauma, is the most common type of traumatic brain injury. Symptoms include a variety of physical, cognitive and emotional symptoms; the danger is that these may not be recognized if they are subtle.
Based on sound processing, the researchers have developed a a biological marker (or "biomarker") in the auditory system. This is significant since there is no reliable way to assess a concussion immediately after an incident. This is based on a new brain scanning method which examines for the brain's automatic electric reaction to sound. This is based on research which found a distinct pattern in the auditory response with children who suffered concussions, when similar studies were run on children who had not suffered from concussion.
Interviewed by Bioscience Technology, the lead researcher, Nina Kraus, the Hugh Knowles Professor in the School of Communication, said: "This biomarker could take the guesswork out of concussion diagnosis and management. Our hope is this discovery will enable clinicians, parents and coaches to better manage athlete health, because playing sports is one of the best things you can do."
The research is published in the journal Scientific Reports, with the the paper titled "Auditory biological marker of concussion in children."
For a round-up of other research into concussion, earlier this year Digital Journal published a special 'Essential Science' feature on the subject of head injuries.