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New saliva test for concussions in kids is pending

Even a fairly minor car accident can leave drivers and passengers with serious injuries, including concussions. When children suffer head injuries, it is particularly worrisome to parents.

But hope may be on the horizon, as this month, JAMA Pediatrics published the results of their research into a new diagnostic tool for concussion treatment. A test using injured children's saliva may prove helpful in diagnosing concussions, as well as offering an idea of how long the symptoms will persist.

The research was conducted at Penn State College of Medicine. Researchers identified five tiny molecules, or "microRNAs" that are present in saliva. They play an important role in the activities of proteins in the human body and can be measured in all of our biofluids — cerebrospinal fluid, blood and saliva.

Of the three, testing saliva is easiest and least invasive, which makes this an ideal testing medium, as microRNAs can potentially identify concussive symptoms in kids, teenagers and even young adults.

A senior author of this research study who is also one of the assistant professors of pediatrics at the College of Medicine at Penn State, said that those "five microRNAs in saliva could predict with approximately 85 percent accuracy which concussed children would have symptoms one month later."

That is 20 percent more accurate that the present standards of measure, which only have about 65 percent accuracy.

Quadrant Biosciences, a biotech corporation that was a source of funding for the research, is hard at work to offer a viable saliva test for younger concussion patients within the next year or two.

As children are most often affected by concussions, this is truly welcome news. Almost two-thirds of all concussions happen to kids and teenagers, some of whom will go on to develop long-lasting symptoms that can affect learning, development and many other areas of their lives.

If your child suffered a concussion as a result of a motor vehicle accident where another driver was responsible, you may need to take legal action to preserve their rights.

Source: CNN, "Spit test may diagnose, predict duration of concussion in kids," Susan Scutti, Nov. 20, 2017

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