With so much bad news coming out about Alzheimer’s disease recently, it’s a relief to hear that there appears to be progress on the concussion front.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona say they may have found a key to developing an accurate biological test for concussions, according the Medical Daily. Their study shows that autonomic reflex testing, which tracks changes in the heart rate and blood pressure, detects changes in those who have sustained a concussions.
The Mayo folks recently presented their findings at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting in San Diego.
The director of the Mayor Clinic Concussion Program told Medical Daily that right now there is essentially no sure-fire way to determine if a patient has suffered a concussion, so physicians mainly rely on “symptom self-reporting” to diagnose one.
In addition, there is no test to gauge whether or not a patient’s brain has fully recovered from the damage inflicted be a concussion.
But the Mayo study may change that. It found that there were changes in the vital signs of 21 patients who had concussions, Medical Daily reported. Each of those patients had an abnormal heart rate and blood pressure when they underwent autonomic testing.
Medical Daily defined the autonomic nervous system as a control for functions such as “heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, breathing rate and perspiration.”
One of the study’s co-authors said that it’s been known that the autonomic nerve system can be disrupted by serious traumatic brain injury (TBI), but that such dysfunction had never been tied to concussions, according to Medical Daily.
Mayo scientists said they plan to create a reliable concussion test by using autonomic reflex testing.