Quirks & Quarks

A game-changing blood test for concussion diagnosis

A new means of diagnosing concussion is proving to be highly accurate.
Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby has suffered multiple concussions. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

This story first aired in November, 2016.

Concussions have been very difficult to diagnose in the past. Part of the problem has been that the diagnosis relies on the personal assessment of the patient as well as the judgement of a clinician, and neither is entirely accurate. 

But a new study has found that a form of blood profiling known as 'metabolomics' can provide concussion assessments with up to 92 per cent accuracy. 

Dr. Douglas Fraser, a physician at the Children's Hospital in London, Ontario, and an associate professor at Western University has found that metabolites in the blood — in particular lipids — show a consistent pattern when the brain has been concussed. 

More from the CBC: New concussion blood test claims 90 per cent accuracy

This pattern can be determined by a simple blood test, provided the test is taken within 72 hours of the brain trauma.  Analyzing the pattern of metabolites in the blood over time can also help determine when a full recovery has been made.

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