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Study: Urine Analysis May Be Key to Concussion Diagnosis

Andy Berg
Melissa Mcgovern U4w0n2i2b Je Unsplash

A new study suggests that concussions, which are notoriously hard to diagnose, could be identified through urine analysis. 

While brain scans, blood tests, saliva and eye scans all show promise in detecting concussions, a new study from scientists at the Boston Children’s Hospital suggests that biomarkers in urine samples might accurately identify whether a person has had a concussion.

According to New Atlas, the study utilized frozen samples obtained from 95 college athletes, 48 of whom had been recently diagnosed with a concussion by a sports medicine physician, and 47 of whom served as uninjured controls.

Scientists found that samples from those who had suffered concussions contained significantly lower levels of the proteins IGF-1 and IGFBP5 (IGF-binding protein 5). Both proteins are believed to play a role in brain injury repair, and scientists believe it would make sense that the body was retaining rather than excreting them.

Interestingly, the concussed athletes did not exhibit higher- or lower-than-normal amounts of biomarkers that were already associated with other types of severe brain injuries.

"Concussion appears to be very different," says Cassandra Daisy, co-first author of a paper on the study.

The researchers are not planning a proof-of-concept clinical study, which will involve a wider variety of patients.

The full study was published in the journal Neurology

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