MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Steven Daniel Hicks, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Division of Academic General Pediatrics
College of Medicine
Penn State Health
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: There are about 3 million concussions in the US each year and the majority occur in children. Parents of children with concussions commonly cite length of recovery as a major concern, but pediatricians have no objective or accurate tests for addressing this concern.
Our research group previously identified small regulatory molecules called microRNAs that were altered in both the spinal fluid and saliva in children with traumatic brain injuries. In this study we investigated whether those microRNAs could predict duration of concussion symptoms. In 52 children with concussion we found a set of microRNAs that predict whether concussion symptoms would last beyond one month with over 80% accuracy. This was significantly more accurate than survey based tools such as the sports concussion assessment tool or a modified concussion clinical risk score. Interestingly, the microRNAs with predictive accuracy targeted pathways involved in brain repair and showed correlations with specific concussion symptoms.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Saliva microRNA may represent an easily accessible and accurate biomarker for predicting length and character of concussion symptoms in children. These findings are not yet available as a clinical test.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: Future investigations are needed to confirm the validity of these results in a much larger sample of children. We are currently characterizing how salivary microRNA changes over time after a concussion and performing these assessments alongside functional assessments of memory and balance.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: This work is sponsored by Quadrant Biosciences for whom Dr. Hicks serves as a paid consultant. These interests have been fully disclosed to the Penn State IRB and COI committee.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
Peripheral microRNA patterns predict prolonged concussion symptoms in pediatric patients
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