Spit test may diagnose, predict duration of concussions in kids

A saliva test may someday be able to diagnose a concussion and predict how long symptoms last, according to a study published Monday in the JAMA Pediatrics.

A concussion is one type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow or jolt to either the head or the body. Though not life-threatening, these injuries to the brain can be serious and cause symptoms of headache (or “pressure” in the head), nausea, vomiting, dizziness, balance problems, double or blurry vision, sluggishness, confusion, memory problems and difficulty concentrating.

In their study, Penn State College of Medicine researchers found five small molecules called microRNAs in saliva with real potential for identifying concussive symptoms in children, teens and young adults. MicroRNAs influence protein activities throughout the body, and they are easily measured in biofluids, including blood, cerebrospinal fluid and saliva, according to the authors.

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