MONDAY, Nov. 20, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- For children with concussion, salivary microRNAs (miRNAs) can accurately identify the duration of symptoms, according to a study published online Nov. 20 in JAMA Pediatrics.
In a prospective cohort study, Jeremiah J. Johnson, from the Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, and colleagues examined the efficacy of salivary miRNAs for identifying children with concussion who are at risk for prolonged symptoms. Fifty-two patients aged 7 to 21 years were observed for evaluation of concussion within 14 days of initial head injury, with follow-up at four and eight weeks. Participants were split into the prolonged and acute symptom groups (30 and 22, respectively).
The researchers found that concentrations of 15 salivary miRNAs spatially differentiated prolonged and acute symptom groups and showed functional relationships with neuronal regulatory pathways. Patients with prolonged symptoms were accurately identified by levels of five miRNAs (area under the curve, 0.856), with the accuracy exceeding that of symptom burden on child or parent Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 3 score (areas under the curve, 0.649 and 0.562, respectively). The levels of three miRNAs correlated with specific symptoms four weeks after injury: miR-320c-1, miR-629, and let-7b-5p were associated with memory difficulty, headaches, and fatigue, respectively.
"Salivary miRNA levels may identify the duration and character of concussion symptoms," the authors write. "This could reduce parental anxiety and improve care by providing a tool for concussion management. Further validation of this approach is needed."
One author is a coinventor of preliminary patents for microRNA biomarkers in disorders of the central nervous system licensed to Quadrant Biosciences; several authors disclosed financial ties to Quadrant Biosciences.
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