A New Concussion Test That Uses Objective Factors
In March 2013 two neurologists at Mayo Clinic presented their research into finding an objective, biological marker for concussion that does not rely on subjective reporting of symptoms. Dr. David Dodick and Dr. Bert Vargas presented their findings at the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting in San Diego.
These doctors found significant abnormalities in heart rate and blood pressure in 21 patients who had just sustained a concussion. The timeliness and low cost of testing for such autonomic nervous system changes makes this kind of testing very useful. Brain scans are typically done so long as a patient has had a concussion that his or her brain has already healed by the time the scan is done, and these scans are very expensive.
The autonomic nervous system is a control system for automatic body functions like heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, breathing rate, and perspiration. Previously it was thought that disturbances in autonomic function were associated with moderate to severe TBI not mild TBI (which is equivalent to a concussion).