Chicago Health | Homepage
Using Your Head

Using Your Head

Mayo Clinic finding a way to diagnose concussions with more certainty

By Riley Andersen

At the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, neurologists are discovering new ways to diagnose concussions. Research shows that autonomic reflex testing, which measures involuntary changes in heart rate and blood pressure, consistently shows significant changes in those with concussions. The findings were presented at the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting held in San Diego last week.

Today, doctors count on self-reports from the patients of symptoms to make a diagnosis of concussions. Besides the report of symptoms, or lack thereof, there is no regular test to decide whether the injured person’s brain has fully recovered from a concussion. In light of brain-research studies, doctors are positive that there is a lag between when the patient believes that symptoms have resided and when the brain has actually healed. This means that a fast, definitive tool is needed to tell whether a brain has fully recovered from a concussion.

“This has the potential to change the way we approach concussion patients,” says Dr. David Dodick, a neurologist and director of the Mayo Clinic Concussion Program. “One of the challenges of treating someone with a concussion is to reliably make a diagnosis: to know when the brain is injured and to know when the brain [has] actually recovered.”

“Autonomic nervous system dysfunction has long been recognized as a possible complication of people with severe traumatic brain injury but has rarely been associated with people with concussions or milder forms of brain injury,” adds co-author Dr. Brent Goodman, a Mayo neurologist and autonomic system expert.

The autonomic nervous system involuntarily controls heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, respiratory rate and perspiration.

In one study, doctors watched over 21 patients after they had received concussions. All of them experienced big changes in heart rate and blood pressure during autonomic testing. The physicians concluded that these changes were due to concussion.

“Contrary to popular belief, the symptoms of dizziness that patients feel just after a concussion may, in some cases, be symptoms of autonomic system impairment rather than a vestibular or inner ear disturbance,” says Dr. Bert Vargas, a Mayo neurologist.

More research is needed, but the Mayo team is optimistic, Dodick says.

“This study shows a possible electrophysiological biomarker that indicates that a concussion has occurred. We are hopeful that with more research this will be confirmed and that this may also be a biomarker for recovery,” he says.

 

Additional concussions related stories:

Uncovering Concussions
Less Touch Football
NorthShore Neurological Institute Gains Concussions Specialist
The Possibility of Fewer Football Concussions

Email This Post Email This Post

Similar Articles

Minimally Invasive Surgery

Minimally Invasive Surgery

Less cutting of tendons and ligaments can lead to quicker recovery By Kelly K. James Michael Floodstrand

Unexplained belly pain? Consider nerve irritation

Unexplained belly pain? Consider nerve irritation

The Medicine Cabinet: Ask the Harvard Experts By Howard LeWine, M.D. Q: I have had persistent pain

Finding Relief for Chronic Migraines

Finding Relief for Chronic Migraines

By Mary Beth Klatt Marie Syzdek, 54, grew up thinking that migraines were a normal part

Years of good blood sugar control helps diabetic hearts

Years of good blood sugar control helps diabetic hearts

Source: University of Michigan Day in and day out, for years on end, millions of people

Getting By: Private Patient Advocates Help Navigate Care

Getting By: Private Patient Advocates Help Navigate Care

Private patient advocates act as personal assistants, navigating care By Rhonda Alexander “Healthcare is complicated,” says Dan

Articles By Category

Family Health

In The Know

CH Lifestyle

May 2017
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
April 30, 2017 May 1, 2017 May 2, 2017 May 3, 2017 May 4, 2017 May 5, 2017 May 6, 2017
May 7, 2017 May 8, 2017 May 9, 2017 May 10, 2017 May 11, 2017 May 12, 2017 May 13, 2017
May 14, 2017 May 15, 2017 May 16, 2017 May 17, 2017 May 18, 2017 May 19, 2017 May 20, 2017
May 21, 2017 May 22, 2017 May 23, 2017 May 24, 2017 May 25, 2017 May 26, 2017 May 27, 2017
May 28, 2017 May 29, 2017 May 30, 2017 May 31, 2017 June 1, 2017 June 2, 2017 June 3, 2017

Categories

Recent Comments

Fund a Cure Night | The Griffith Family Foundation

Fund a Cure Night | The Griffith Family Foundation

Enjoy a great night of baseball at Peoples Natural

VIEW ARTICLE
Swing for the fences in the fight to Sideline Pancreatic Cancer

Swing for the fences in the fight to Sideline Pancreatic Cancer

Enjoy a great night of baseball at Peoples Natural

VIEW ARTICLE

Archives