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Blood Test Has Potential for Detecting Concussion in Children

Posted on Sat, Nov 14, 2015
Blood Test Has Potential for Detecting Concussion in Children

Could help reduce number of CT scans and associated radiation exposure

A simple blood test may one day be able to detect concussions in children, according to a study published in the November issue of Academic Emergency Medicine.

The blood test measures levels of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), found in cells that surround neurons in the brain. For the study, 152 children with head injuries were given the blood test and underwent computed tomography (CT) scans. Linda Papa, M.D., an emergency medicine physician with Orlando Health in Florida, and colleagues compared the results of the scans with results from the blood test. The blood test was done within six hours after the injury.

CT scans were able to identify patients who had suffered traumatic brain injuries; however, the blood test detected symptoms of concussions even when brain injuries were not visible on the CT scan, Papa told HealthDay. The blood test was also able to give doctors an idea of how severe the brain injury was, she said. Levels of GFAP were lower in mild cases, but were much higher in severe cases, she added.

Papa hopes to develop a mobile test that could be given when and where the injury occurs. This test could be used on the playing field to help coaches, trainers, and athletic directors make decisions about whether the child can get back in the game, she said. The researchers plan to do more study to validate their results in a larger group of children, and they hope a test will be available within the next five years.

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Second Severe Allergic Reaction Within Hours Isn't Uncommon

Posted on Mon, Jul 20, 2015
Second Severe Allergic Reaction Within Hours Isn't Uncommon

Researchers find about one in seven children have repeat episode

(HealthDay News) -- About 15 percent of children who have a severe allergic reaction can have a second one within a few hours, according to a new study published online June 22 in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

The study team looked at the medical records of 484 children seen in an emergency department for severe allergic reactions. The researchers sought to determine whether the children had a second, follow-up reaction.

About one in seven childen had a second reaction, the researchers found. "We found that 75 percent of the secondary reactions occurred within six hours of the first," lead author Waleed Alqurashi, M.D., from the University of Ottawa in Canada, said in an American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology news release.

"A more severe first reaction was associated with a stronger possibility of a second reaction. Children aged 6 to 9, children who needed more than one dose of epinephrine, and children who did not get immediate epinephrine treatment were among the most likely to develop secondary reactions," Alqurashi said. At least half of the second allergic reactions were considered serious and had to be treated with epinephrine.

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