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Saliva test could diagnose concussions in children

West Virginia doctors may someday have access to a saliva test that can diagnose a concussion in children, according to a new study. The test would also be able to estimate the length of time symptoms will last.

In the study, which was published in JAMA Pediatrics on Nov. 20, researchers at Penn State College of Medicine identified five tiny molecules in the saliva of children and young adults that may have the ability to diagnose concussions. They found that these molecules, known as microRNAs, were 85 percent accurate in predicting whether a child would have concussive symptoms one month later. Current tests are only 65 percent accurate.

Concussions can occur when a person suffers a blow to the head or a jolt to the body, such as whiplash. This type of traumatic brain injury can cause symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, blurry vision, confusion and cognitive problems. According to the authors of the study, nearly two of every three concussions in the U.S. occur in children and teens. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there were approximately 2.8 million brain injury-related emergency room visits, hospitalizations or fatalities across the nation in 2013. The saliva test could be on the market within the next two years.

Truck accidents are a top cause of concussions and other traumatic brain injuries. These crashes can be caused by factors like speeding, truck driver fatigue and negligent vehicle maintenance. Truck accident victims may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who caused the crash. This type of lawsuit is designed to help an injured victim recover compensation for damages, including medical expenses, lost wages and property loss.

Source: KSAT, "Spit test may diagnose, predict duration of concussions in kids," Susan Scutti, Nov. 20, 2017

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