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UPEI seeks volunteers for research that aims to improve concussion diagnosis

Researchers hope to determine if certain protein in blood is biomarker for concussions

CBC News ยท Posted: Mar 27, 2021 5:23 PM AT | Last Updated: 34 minutes ago

A concussion-testing demonstration is performed at UPEI in 2019. UPEI’s Health-Centered Research Clinic is seeking volunteers for a study aiming to improve the diagnosis of concussions. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

A new study underway at UPEI’s Health-Centered Research Clinic aims to help improve concussion diagnosis through blood work.

Researchers at the clinic say brain injuries can be hard to assess visually, but there’s evidence that certain proteins in the blood are heightened when someone has had a concussion.

“We’re trying to figure out if this protein could be a biomarker for telling us whether or not someone’s had a concussion or how severe it is,” said research associate Angela Riveroll.

“So that’s why we want to associate or correlate the blood work and the measurement of the amount of this protein with the other standard tests, like things for balance and hearing.” 

Riveroll said her team is hoping blood work might assist with determining whether someone is ready to return to work or sports. It’s very difficult to say how severe a concussion is for when a person can return to their normal routine, she said.

“So we’re just trying to develop tests that might help physicians when they’re trying to make those decisions.”

The group is looking for several types of individuals for the study:

  • People who have never had a concussion.
  • People who’ve had a concussion in the past 36 hours.
  • People who’ve had concussion symptoms for more than three months, but fewer than six. 
  • People who’ve had a bone fracture in the past 36 hours.
  • Anyone who actively competes as a boxer.

They’re hoping to find 20 participants for each group.