Saliva test can diagnose concussions: study
Scientists collected saliva samples from 1,028 professional male rugby players
Using DNA sequencing technology to analyze biomarkers of traumatic brain injury
the study found that spit tests could diagnose concussions with 96% accuracy
(SOUNDBITE) (English) ANTONIO BELLI, PROFESSOR OF TRAUMA NEUROSURGERY, UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM, SAYING:
"The body knows that something has happened upstairs so every part of the body begins to adapt and respond to that injury, including saliva. So what we can do is to read the messages that cells send to each other to say that there's been an injury somewhere in the brain and the body needs to deal with it."
Marker Diagnostics is marketing a laboratory-based saliva concussion test
but it could take several years to develop a "pitch-side" diagnostic tool
(SOUNDBITE) (English) DR SIMON KEMP, MEDICAL SERVICES DIRECTOR, RUGBY FOOTBALL UNION SAYING:
"We're very hopeful that in the first instance we can develop a test that could be available the morning after a game, so a sample taken post-game and the result available the next morning to confirm whether you've got concussion or not. And then the next iteration would be to develop one that could be used in-game. We know that the signal, the Micro RNA signal, happens very quickly so it's possible with the right technology to develop an in-game test but that requires a little bit more development from a testing perspective. But in theory it's very possible."