A blow to the head may not only cause you to see stars, it could also leave you spitting evidence of a concussion. Scientists in the United Kingdom have shown they can detect whether someone has suffered a concussion by looking for certain molecules in the person’s saliva, The Washington Post reports. Over two seasons, researchers studied saliva samples from more than 1000 rugby players in England’s top two professional leagues, including 156 who were subjected to a standard head injury assessment, of which 106 were found to have concussions. The scientists also collected data from 102 uninjured players and 66 players with nonhead injuries. Using data from the first season, the scientists identified 14 different noncoding RNAs that appeared to distinguish concussed from nonconcussed players. Data from the second season showed the tests works with 94% accuracy, the researchers reported this week in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The advance could someday open the way for a fast spit test to screen for concussion, although the method was not tested on women.
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