Researchers are developing a saliva-based test for concussions, the Washington Post reports.
It notes that concussions are currently diagnosed by gauging people's symptoms, behavior, and, sometimes imaging, but that there is no objective test. But researchers from the University of Birmingham in the UK are working on a test that detects small non-coding RNAs.
As they report in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the Birmingham-led team collected saliva samples from rugby players before the start of their season and during head injury assessments. By analyzing samples from players with confirmed concussions by head injury assessments and those without, the researchers homed in on a panel of 14 scRNA that could differentiate the groups.
"What's exciting about this is we not only found a very accurate way of identifying brain trauma, but also we found it in saliva, which is not invasive," co-author Antonio Belli tells the Post.
The Post adds that the test currently takes about one day, but that the researchers are working on making it able to be used on the sidelines of a sporting event. The researchers additionally note there that more work focused on women is needed, as this analysis included only men and as women are thought to experience concussions differently than men.