On-field blood test can diagnose sports concussions

A brain protein, S100B, which may soon be detected by a simple finger-stick blood test, accurately distinguishes a sports-related concussion from sports exertion, according to a study of college athletes in Rochester, N.Y., and Munich, Germany, and published in PLOS ONE by Jeffrey J. Bazarian, M.D., professor at the University of Rochester.

For years Bazarian and others have been investigating the use of S100B for on-field diagnoses of head injuries. The current method of diagnosing by evaluating symptoms such as loss of consciousness, confusion, and headache are notoriously inaccurate. This makes it difficult for coaches and trainers to decide who should come out of the game.

S100B is a well-accepted biomarker for , and Europeans are already using it to decide who is at high risk for intracranial bleeding and in need of head CT scanning.

However, the obstacle to using S100B to diagnose sports concussions has been the observation that levels tend to rise slightly after physical exertion, for reasons that are not exactly clear. Therefore, scientists must first have the ability to separate the effects of from concussion when looking at S100B levels in the blood.

In this study, 46 athletes completed preseason baseline testing for S100B. Researchers re-tested 30 of them after exertion and found that their S100B levels rose on average only about 2% compared to baseline.

Twenty two of the 46 athletes suffered clinically confirmed concussions. And of the 22 athletes, 17 underwent S100B testing within 3 hours of injury. Results showed their S100B levels soared an average of about 81% compared to baseline. Bazarian and his colleagues concluded that in these athletes a rise in S100B levels greater than 45% was nearly diagnostic of concussion.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New concussion data: Two biomarkers better than one

Jun 18, 2013

Scientists are scrambling to gather data for the FDA to support the need for a blood test to diagnose brain injury in the United States. The University of Rochester Medical Center just added significant evidence by reporting ...

Recommended for you

Demographics impact family physicians' care of children

Sep 12, 2014

(HealthDay)—Demographic and geographic factors influence whether family physicians provide care for children, according to a study published in the September/October issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Estimate: 3 in 10 NFL retirees face cognitive woes (Update)

Sep 12, 2014

Nearly three in 10 former NFL players will develop at least moderate neurocognitive problems and qualify for payments under the proposed $765 million concussion settlement, according to data prepared for ex-players' lawyers ...

Physician describes impact of malpractice suit

Sep 12, 2014

(HealthDay)—A family doctor who was involved in a malpractice suit describes the impact on her practice of medicine in an article published online in the September/October issue of the Annals of Family Me ...

Report outlines 'must-have' sexual health services for men

Sep 12, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—Compared with women, American men have worse access to reproductive and sexual health care, research shows, a disparity fueled in part by the lack of standard clinical guidelines on the types and timing ...

New report finds a healthy well-being among Chinese children

Sep 12, 2014

A new study of children's well-being in Shanghai finds that first-graders are socially and emotionally healthy, with most performing average or above average academically. The study, by the New York University-East China ...

User comments