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Novel metabolomics profiling method could be used in the diagnosis of concussions

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Researchers from Western University (London, Canada) have demonstrated that plasma metabolomics profiling in combination with statistical analysis could potentially identify concussed individuals with a 90% accuracy rate.

Concussion is one of the most common types of traumatic brain injury and is generally defined as a head injury with a temporary loss of brain function. Sports-related concussions have had distressing physical, neurological and socio-emotional consequences for athletes, and the need for validated biomarkers and objective criteria for specific diagnosis remains paramount.

While most previous attempts have aimed to identify single biomarkers indicating concussion, the research published in Metabolomics took a broader approach, looking at a combination of metabolites carried in the blood stream.

In order to determine whether concussions in adolescent male hockey players could be diagnosed using plasma metabolomics profiling, Daley M and colleagues obtained plasma from 12 concussed and 17 non-concussed athletes.

They assayed for 174 metabolites with proton nuclear magnetic resonance and direct-injection LC—MS/MS, and the data obtained were analyzed with multivariate statistical analysis and the findings were strongly indicative of the potential for concussion diagnosis.

While much further work is required to validate the approach, the goal is to develop a diagnostic blood test, amenable to point-of-care testing. The idea is that this will enable the provision of timely medical care and treatment, which would reduce the risks of the permanent damages caused by concussion.

Source: Daley M, Dekaban G, Bartha R et al. Metabolomics profiling of concussion in adolescent male hockey players: a novel diagnostic method. Metabolomics 12(185) doi:10.1007/s11306-016-1131-5 (2016) (e-pub ahead of print).

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