Role of advanced neuroimaging, fluid biomarkers and genetic testing in the assessment of sport-related concussion: a systematic review

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Abstract

Objective

To conduct a systematic review of published literature on advanced neuroimaging, fluid biomarkers and genetic testing in the assessment of sport-related concussion (SRC).

Data sources

Computerised searches of Medline, PubMed, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), PsycINFO, Scopus and Cochrane Library from 1 January 2000 to 31 December 2016 were done. There were 3222 articles identified.

Study selection

In addition to medical subject heading terms, a study was included if (1) published in English, (2) represented original research, (3) involved human research, (4) pertained to SRC and (5) involved data from neuroimaging, fluid biomarkers or genetic testing collected within 6 months of injury. Ninety-eight studies qualified for review (76 neuroimaging, 16 biomarkers and 6 genetic testing).

Data extraction

Separate reviews were conducted for neuroimaging, biomarkers and genetic testing. A standardised data extraction tool was used to document study design, population, tests employed and key findings. Reviewers used a modified quality assessment of studies of diagnostic accuracy studies (QUADAS-2) tool to rate the risk of bias, and a modified Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) system to rate the overall level of evidence for each search.

Data synthesis

Results from the three respective reviews are compiled in separate tables and an interpretive summary of the findings is provided.

Conclusions

Advanced neuroimaging, fluid biomarkers and genetic testing are important research tools, but require further validation to determine their ultimate clinical utility in the evaluation of SRC. Future research efforts should address current gaps that limit clinical translation. Ultimately, research on neurobiological and genetic aspects of SRC is predicted to have major translational significance to evidence-based approaches to clinical management of SRC, much like applied clinical research has had over the past 20 years.

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