Neurologists at Mayo Clinic in Arizona have taken a promising step toward identifying a test that helps support the diagnosis of concussion. Their research has shown that autonomic reflex testing, which measures involuntary changes in heart rate and blood pressure, consistently appear to demonstrate significant changes in those with concussion.
Appearing on their website, the information researchers are delving into is a new angle on concussions. It is widely known that traumatic brain injured (TBI) patients have autonomic system (ANS) deficits/abnormalities. However the group from Arizona thought an investigation into concussed patients was worth the effort. Low and behold their findings are a promising first step in possible assessment and management of the concussion.
One interesting note, was this notion on dizziness;
“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 Bert Vargas, M.D., a Mayo neurologist.
No one is telling you to take blood pressures with assessment (ergo baselines), yet, but with this information could come not only objective testing but biomarkers associated with ANS changes;
“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.