Concussion symptoms typically go away within 2 weeks but some children can have prolonged symptoms. An objective test to identify children at risk of prolonged symptoms would help children and their parents know what to expect. Prior research has suggested that
‘MicroRNA levels in saliva may help to identify the duration of concussion symptoms and could reduce parents' anxiety and improve concussion management.’
A study was done in children and young adults to compare the methods effective in detecting traumatic brain injury.
Fifty-two children and young adults (average age 14) with mild traumatic brain injury mostly from sports or car accidents split into two groups: 30 with prolonged symptoms and 22 with acute symptoms.
Salivary microRNA levels when patients first sought medical care; concussion symptoms surveyed two and four weeks after head injury.
This is an observational study. Because researchers are not intervening for purposes of the study they cannot control natural differences that could explain study findings.
Concentrations of five microRNAs in saliva appeared to more accurately identify the children and young adults with prolonged concussion symptoms than a survey that measured symptoms.
This is a small study of 52 patients; validation of the accuracy of microRNAs in a larger study group is needed. Future studies should examine microRNAs alongside neuroimaging and functional measures such as balance and processing speed.