Predicting long term effects of concussions

Approximately one-third of children who suffer a concussion experience persistent symptoms afterwards. Researchers have developed a new clinical scoring system that may help predict which patients are at a higher risk for prolonged symptoms.
Canadian researchers evaluated more than 3,000 patients,  5 to 18, who came for treatment within 48 hours of an acute head injury. About thirty percent ended up with persistent post-concussion symptoms at 28 days. Researchers identified nine clinical factors that helped predict continuing symptoms. These factors were then used in a twelve point risk score that included items like age, sex, history of migraines or depression, prior history of concussion, and problems with balance.
Although the clinical score was better than a physician’s judgment alone, further research is needed before it is fully adopted into clinical practice.
Information about the study is included in the current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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