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After a Hit to the Head

Concussions can be tricky to diagnose, but Scientific American writes that companies and researchers are working to find markers of concussion and translate them into blood tests.

"The biggest problem is that the clinical criteria for diagnosing concussion are very vague," the University of Gothenburg's Henrik Zetterberg tells Scientific American.

The hope is that biomarkers and blood tests based on them would make the diagnostic process more clear-cut. Scientific American writes that Zetterberg and his colleagues have been using Quanterix's technology to measure tau levels in athletes, including boxers and hockey players, to find that its levels correlate with how long athletes report symptoms. At the same time, it says that Abbott's Beth McQuiston and her colleagues are developing a blood test for two other concussion markers, UCH-L1 and GFAP.

McQuiston tells Scientific American that she envisions blood tests to be just a part of how concussion is diagnosed. "If you're looking at a health condition like chest pain, you'd use a number of different measures such as a blood test, electrocardiogram and a chest x-ray, along with the clinical presentation to paint a picture," she says. "Likewise, we see blood tests as part of a multimodal assessment."