Establishing Confidence in Post-Concussion Return-to-Play
Among the most challenging tasks in neurology today is the ability to definitively
identify and accurately treat a concussion. Concussions are complicated.
From individual to individual, a concussion’s symptoms, effects
and recovery can be wildly different. These facts have historically made
a standardized diagnosis and treatment plan for concussive injuries tough
to develop. But hope is on the horizon with innovative new technologies
that can help us follow a patient through the resolution of a concussion,
helping the care team better and more accurately determine when a return
to play, work or otherwise active daily life is safe.
When assessing human biology, clinicians often look for things called “biomarkers,”
which are measurable substances in the body that may indicate an active
disease or illness. In the case of concussion, physicians have historically
attempted to determine biomarkers for the condition through the examination
of blood and spinal fluid. But neither has been particularly reliable
as a concussion marker.
However, a new test called the Brain Network Activation (BNA) is poised
to serve as one of the first reliable biomarkers for concussion that has
been illusive to the field of neurology up to this point. And we are the
only southern California center to be using it with promising results.
BNA attempts to establish concussion-related biomarkers not through the
study of blood or spinal fluid, but through the examination of brain waves.
This innovative technology allows neurologists the ability to actually
visualize and measure a brain injury, compare it to other conditions of
its type and properly diagnose it. With an accurate concussion diagnosis
out of the gates, an effective treatment plan can then be identified and
implemented. But perhaps most promising about BNA is the opportunity it
presents the physician and the patient to develop a "road map"
for understanding when it is safe to return to activity.
Non-invasive and FDA-approved, BNA has the strong potential to help neurologists,
patients, parents, coaches and others with a vested interest in the health
and well-being of post-concussion athletes by providing a reliable framework
for safe and accurate return to play. Recognizing that just one concussion
can be life-altering on its own, we also know that multiple brain injuries
have the potential to do permanent and sometimes lethal damage. Ensuring
patients get the right type and duration of healing they need after a
concussion can help minimize those future risks. Click
here to learn more about BNA technology, how it works in the clinical setting
and what the half-hour procedure entails.