Researchers develop ‘game-changer’ blood test to identify concussions


Researchers at the University of Queensland are trying to develop a new blood test that will have a global impact on identifying and diagnosing concussions.

This research project is a partnership between the University of Queensland, World Rugby, Rugby Australia, Qscan, Trajan and Sonic Health.

To identify concussion biomarkers in the blood, the project will employ advanced brain imaging, cognitive testing and blood analysis, and will be tested on high school rugby and basketball volunteers.

Assoc, the project’s principal investigator. Her Professor Fatima Nasrallah of the University of Queensland said: news release A blood test that can identify concussions would have a global impact on the sports arena.

“If we could find a biomarker that accurately reflects how the brain responds to and recovers from a concussion, it would be a game changer for sports,” said Nasrallah.

“We were then able to develop a fieldside tool that would notify us in real time of the diagnosis and necessary actions, such as removing players from the field or returning only if it is safe to do so.

“Ultimately, developing a simple point-of-care tool that can identify biomarkers and rigorously diagnose concussions in bystanders and clinics will help improve safety in schools, communities and professional sports. I guess.”

St. Louis Blues v Pittsburgh Penguins
Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins has a shot off of Ian Cole of the St. Louis Blues. Crosby missed the second time this season with a concussion. (Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Blood tests make concussion testing easier

Harvard Medical School Associate Professor Eva Valera writes: Harvard Health Blog Concussion blood tests appear to measure substances such as proteins and enzymes that are released into the blood when the brain is damaged.

Valera said the blood test for concussion can be used to avoid unnecessary imaging scans that are expensive and expose the body to radiation, without missing serious brain damage. They may also evolve such blood tests to be more sensitive to the detection of intracranial damage than imaging scans.

Elite sports currently use the SCAT5 test or Rugby Australia’s Head Injury Assessment (HIA) protocol to diagnose concussions. Both identify concussion based on subjective behavioral symptoms.according to Centers for Disease Control and PreventionConcussion symptoms include confusion, agitation, vomiting, headache or pressure, blurred vision, and changes in mood, personality, and behavior.

of SCAT5 test The British Journal of Sports Medicine can be correctly managed in 10 minutes by a licensed medical professional using the Time Device. Testing includes cognitive, neurological and physical screening. SCAT5 includes questions on numeracy, memory retrieval, reading, history of head trauma, and assessment of eye reactions and physical symptoms such as neck and head pain.

of HIA protocol It includes three steps. The first step is a team or game day physician who identifies possible concussions in players through direct observation or video review. If a player exhibits obvious signs of concussion, the player will be immediately and permanently removed from play. If there is only one chance, the player will be taken offsite to undergo his reformatted SCAT5 test. A player with possible concussion will not be allowed to return to play for 12 minutes during which the SCAT5 test will be administered.

Phases 2 and 3 of the protocol are follow-ups that occur 3 hours and 2 nights of rest after the end of the game. Stage 2 is performed to identify early concussion and consists of re-dosing the SCAT5 test. Stage 3 was established to identify late-stage concussion and includes clinical assessment supported by his SCAT5 test and computational neurocognitive tools selected by the team.

This means that many Australian sporting bodies have taken a ‘if in doubt don’t participate’ approach to the possibility of concussions, in line with Sport Australia’s guidelines. However, there is a lack of a unified examination process after a player suffers a concussion in both elite and community games, and a tool that provides an objective, evidence-based concussion diagnosis would meet this need. can do.

Epoch Times photo
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – AUGUST 16: Wallabies’ Israel Folau runs a ball during the rugby championship match between the Australian Wallabies and New Zealand All Blacks at ANZ Stadium on August 16, 2014 in Sydney, Australia (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

What the test means for rugby

Welcoming the new research project, World Rugby Chief Medical Officer Dr Eanna Falvey said the research has enormous potential.

“If a major study from the University of Queensland finds a blood test that identifies concussions in community games, it would be of great benefit not only to rugby, but to all of the world’s sport.”

“World Rugby never stops when it comes to player welfare,” said Falby.

“Our six-step plan to become the world’s most progressive sport in its field includes a commitment to investing in science and research, and this research will help us put our plan into action. It’s just one example.”

2021, world rugby announced a six-point plan to advance the sport’s focus on player welfare, with the welfare of former players, women and community games at the heart of the initiative.

The plan includes supporting former players, preventing head impact through research and innovation, reviewing welfare-led legislation, focusing on women players, and investing in concussion and appropriate play education programs. increase. Ongoing engagement and collaboration with the rugby community.

“Our mission is to be the most progressive, open and collaborative sport when it comes to player welfare at all levels,” said World Rugby CEO Alan Gilpin in a news release.

“Rugby is a sport that offers great benefits to the health and well-being of those who play it, and we want more people to experience it.”

Falvey said the risks associated with youth and community play are not comparable to the elite game, but the study is consistent with rugby achieving an objective test for identifying and managing brain injury. I said that it shows that we are focusing on She said rugby is addressing this concern while amending legislation and improving technique and education to advance youth rugby’s injury prevention strategy.