Potential Blood-based Biomarkers for Concussion

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Abstract

Mounting research in the field of sports concussion biomarkers has led to a greater understanding of the effects of brain injury from sports. A recent systematic review of clinical studies examining biomarkers of brain injury following sports-related concussion established that almost all studies have been published either in or after the year 2000. In an effort to prevent chronic traumatic encephalopathy and long-term consequences of concussion, early diagnostic and prognostic tools are becoming increasingly important; particularly in sports and in military personnel, where concussions are common occurrences. Early and tailored management of athletes following a concussion with biomarkers could provide them with the best opportunity to avoid further injury. Should blood-based biomarkers for concussion be validated and become widely available, they could have many roles. For instance, a point-of-care test could be used on the field by trained sport medicine professionals to help detect a concussion. In the clinic or hospital setting, it could be used by clinicians to determine the severity of concussion and be used to screen players for neuroimaging (computed tomography and/or magnetic resonance imaging) and further neuropsychological testing. Furthermore, biomarkers could have a role in monitoring progression of injury and recovery and in managing patients at high risk of repeated injury by being incorporated into guidelines for return to duty, work, or sports activities. There may even be a role for biomarkers as surrogate measures of efficacy in the assessment of new treatments and therapies for concussion.

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