More effective diagnosis of concussions leads to greatly improved recovery
Especially in children, severe falls or sports accidents are often the cause of a concussion. In some sports, for example, scissor-type collisions can trigger one. Researchers have now found a new way to improve the diagnosis of such a head injury. A clear pattern in children's auditory response may indicate concussion.
The scientists at Northwestern University’s Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory found in an investigation that biological labeling in the auditory system of the brain can be an indication of a concussion. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Nature, Scientific Reports".
Biomarkers could lead to more effective diagnosis of concussions
The newly discovered biomarker could eliminate the ambiguities in a diagnosis of concussion. In this way, diagnosis and recovery can be greatly improved, explains author Nina Kraus. It is to be hoped that this discovery will enable medical practitioners, parents, sports teachers and sports coaches to recognize concussions more quickly.
Concussion is difficult to determine
The incidence of concussion has attracted widespread media attention in recent years, especially in professional sports and youth sports programs, the authors explain. Still, concussions are still difficult to diagnose.
Doctors examine the brain's response to noise
For the current study, the researchers examined forty children with a concussion. In addition, there was a control group of children without a concussion. The scientists used three sensors on the head of the participating children to measure the frequency of a response, which is the brain's automatic electrical response to noise.
New method found 90 percent of concussions in the test
With this new method, doctors were able to successfully identify 90 percent of children with a concussion. In the control group, the test found that 95 percent of the children had no concussion, the scientists explain.
Children with concussion react differently to certain sounds
The researchers found that, on average, children with concussion had a 35 percent lower response to certain pitches. This allowed the team to create a kind of neural profile. The study also found that when the children recovered from their concussion, they were able to process pitches normally, the experts add.
Classification of tones is a complex task for the human brain
The brain is needed to properly classify sounds, the authors say. This is one of the most complex tasks the human brain is capable of. For this reason, it is not surprising that severe vibrations or blows to the head disrupt this sensitive machinery, the researchers further explain.
Doctors want to create an effective platform for diagnosing concussion
The goal should be to create a reliable, objective, portable, user-friendly, readily available, and affordable platform for diagnosing concussion, the scientists explain. (as)