trauma center staff


Concussion Research Update

Susan Schmunk, CSTR, CAISS

A concussion is a mild brain injury that occurs after a fall, crash or blow to the head. An estimated 1.3 to 3.8 million sports and recreation related concussions occur in the U.S. each year. While football has been at the center of attention for CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) which has been linked to repeated head trauma, it is interesting to note that the largest number of concussions nationwide from sports activity are related to bicycling. Simply stated, more people ride bicycles than play football.

Researchers at Penn State College of Medicine found that tiny molecules present in saliva identified prolonged concussion symptoms with 85% accuracy in a study of 52 patients aged 7 to 21 years. By looking at epigenetic molecules known as microRNAs (miRNAs) researchers have begun the work of identifying miRNAs associated with specific symptoms, such as headache, memory difficulty and fatigue.

Such testing may provide an objective, accurate, non-invasive evaluation for victims of concussion. Currently concussion symptoms are assessed using a Sports Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT-3) surveys, which is a standardized tool commonly used to evaluate injured children for concussion and to guide clinical decision-making.


Reference the following abstract for more information:

Apply for a Job with MedPartners

Looking for a New Career? We’d love to hear from you. Please click “apply” to submit a cover letter and resume.