Association of Blood Biomarkers With Acute Sport-Related Concussion in Collegiate Athletes: Findings From the NCAA and Department of Defense CARE Consortium.
ABSTRACT: Importance:There is potential scientific and clinical value in validation of objective biomarkers for sport-related concussion (SRC). Objective:To investigate the association of acute-phase blood biomarker levels with SRC in collegiate athletes. Design, Setting, and Participants:This multicenter, prospective, case-control study was conducted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the US Department of Defense Concussion Assessment, Research, and Education (CARE) Consortium from February 20, 2015, to May 31, 2018, at 6 CARE Advanced Research Core sites. A total of 504 collegiate athletes with concussion, contact sport control athletes, and non-contact sport control athletes completed clinical testing and blood collection at preseason baseline, the acute postinjury period, 24 to 48 hours after injury, the point of reporting being asymptomatic, and 7 days after return to play. Data analysis was conducted from March 1 to November 30, 2019. Main Outcomes and Measures:Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase-L1 (UCH-L1), neurofilament light chain, and tau were quantified using the Quanterix Simoa multiplex assay. Clinical outcome measures included the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool-Third Edition (SCAT-3) symptom evaluation, Standardized Assessment of Concussion, Balance Error Scoring System, and Brief Symptom Inventory 18. Results:A total of 264 athletes with concussion (mean [SD] age, 19.08 [1.24] years; 211 [79.9%] male), 138 contact sport controls (mean [SD] age, 19.03 [1.27] years; 107 [77.5%] male), and 102 non-contact sport controls (mean [SD] age, 19.39 [1.25] years; 82 [80.4%] male) were included in the study. Athletes with concussion had significant elevation in GFAP (mean difference, 0.430 pg/mL; 95% CI, 0.339-0.521 pg/mL; P?
Project description:Importance:Identifying plasma biomarkers associated with the amount of time an athlete may need before they return to sport (RTS) following a sport-related concussion (SRC) is important because it may help to improve the health and safety of athletes. Objective:To examine whether plasma biomarkers can differentiate collegiate athletes who RTS in less than 14 days or 14 days or more following SRC. Design, Setting, and Participants:This multicenter prospective diagnostic study, conducted by the National Collegiate Athletics Association-Department of Defense Concussion Assessment, Research, and Education Consortium, included 127 male and female athletes who had sustained an SRC while enrolled at 6 Concussion Assessment, Research, and Education Consortium Advanced Research Core sites as well as 2 partial-Advanced Research Core military service academies. Data were collected between February 2015 and May 2018. Athletes with SRC completed clinical testing and blood collection at preseason (baseline), postinjury (0-21 hours), 24 to 48 hours postinjury, time of symptom resolution, and 7 days after unrestricted RTS. Main Outcomes and Measures:A total of 3 plasma biomarkers (ie, total tau protein, glial fibrillary acidic protein [GFAP], and neurofilament light chain protein [Nf-L]) were measured using an ultrasensitive single molecule array technology and were included in the final analysis. RTS was examined between athletes who took less than 14 days vs those who took 14 days or more to RTS following SRC. Linear mixed models were used to identify significant interactions between period by RTS group. Area under the receiver operating characteristic curve analyses were conducted to examine whether these plasma biomarkers could discriminate between RTS groups. Results:The 127 participants had a mean (SD) age of 18.9 (1.3) years, and 97 (76.4%) were men; 65 (51.2%) took less than 14 days to RTS, and 62 (48.8%) took 14 days or more to RTS. Linear mixed models identified significant associations for both mean (SE) plasma total tau (24-48 hours postinjury, <14 days RTS vs ?14 days RTS: -0.65 [0.12] pg/mL vs -0.14 [0.14] pg/mL; P?=?.008) and GFAP (postinjury, 14 days RTS vs ?14 days RTS: 4.72 [0.12] pg/mL vs 4.39 [0.11] pg/mL; P?=?.04). Total tau at the time of symptom resolution had acceptable discrimination power (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.63-0.86; P?<?.001). We also examined a combined plasma biomarker panel that incorporated Nf-L, GFAP, and total tau at each period to discriminate RTS groups. Although the analyses did reach significance at each time period when combined, results indicated that they were poor at distinguishing the groups (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, <0.7). Conclusions and Relevance:The findings of this study suggest that measures of total tau and GFAP may identify athletes who will require more time to RTS. However, further research is needed to improve our ability to determine recovery following an SRC.
Project description:Objectives:To evaluate the ability of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase (UCH-L1) to detect concussion in children and adult trauma patients with a normal mental status and assess biomarker concentrations over time as gradients of injury in concussive and non-concussive head and body trauma. Design:Large prospective cohort study. Setting:Three level I trauma centres in the USA. Participants:Paediatric and adult trauma patients of all ages, with and without head trauma, presenting with a normal mental status (Glasgow Coma Scale score of 15) within 4?hours of injury. Rigorous screening for concussive symptoms was conducted. Of 3462 trauma patients screened, 751 were enrolled and 712 had biomarker data. Repeated blood sampling was conducted at 4, 8, 12, 16, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, 84, 96, 108, 120, 132, 144, 156, 168 and 180?hours postinjury in adults. Main outcomes:Detection of concussion and gradients of injury in children versus adults by comparing three groups of patients: (1) those with concussion; (2) those with head trauma without overt signs of concussion (non-concussive head trauma controls) and (3) those with peripheral (body) trauma without head trauma or concussion (non-concussive body trauma controls). Results:A total of 1904 samples from 712 trauma patients were analysed. Within 4?hours of injury, there were incremental increases in levels of both GFAP and UCH-L1 from non-concussive body trauma (lowest), to mild elevations in non-concussive head trauma, to highest levels in patients with concussion. In concussion patients, GFAP concentrations were significantly higher compared with body trauma controls (p<0.001) and with head trauma controls (p<0.001) in both children and adults, after controlling for multiple comparisons. However, for UCH-L1, there were no significant differences between concussion patients and head trauma controls (p=0.894) and between body trauma and head trauma controls in children. The AUC for initial GFAP levels to detect concussion was 0.80 (0.73-0.87) in children and 0.76 (0.71-0.80) in adults. This differed significantly from UCH-L1 with AUCs of 0.62 (0.53-0.72) in children and 0.69 (0.64-0.74) in adults. Conclusions:In a cohort of trauma patients with normal mental status, GFAP outperformed UCH-L1 in detecting concussion in both children and adults. Blood levels of GFAP and UCH-L1 showed incremental elevations across three injury groups: from non-concussive body trauma, to non-concussive head trauma, to concussion. However, UCH-L1 was expressed at much higher levels than GFAP in those with non-concussive trauma, particularly in children. Elevations in both biomarkers in patients with non-concussive head trauma may be reflective of a subconcussive brain injury. This will require further study.
Project description:CONTEXT:Interest in identifying the effects of physical and mental activity on recovery after sport-related concussion is growing. Clinical studies of concussed athletes' activities require well-validated methods for tracking their intensity and timing. OBJECTIVE:To develop and validate a novel multimodal approach to monitoring activity postconcussion using mobile (mHealth) technologies. DESIGN:Cohort study. SETTING:Translational research unit. PATIENTS OR OTHER PARTICIPANTS:A total of 40 high school and collegiate football players were evaluated at preseason and followed longitudinally after either concussion (n = 25; age = 17.88 ± 1.74 years, height = 182.07 ± 8.08 cm, mass = 98.36 ± 21.70 kg) or selection as a nonconcussed control (n = 15; age = 18.27 ± 1.83 years, height = 180.01 ± 7.19 cm, mass = 93.83 ± 24.56 kg). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S):Participants wore a commercial actigraph and completed a daily mobile survey for 2 weeks. Analyses focused on comparisons between groups for actigraph-based physical activity and self-reported physical and mental activity during the follow-up period. RESULTS:For the first 2 days postinjury, objective measures showed fewer daily steps in concussed (6663 ± 2667 steps) than in control (11?148 ± 3381 steps) athletes (P < .001), and both objective and self-reported measures indicated less moderate to vigorous physical activity in concussed (27.6 ± 32.6 min/d and 25.0 ± 43.6 min/d, respectively) than in control (57.3 ± 38.6 min/d and 67.5 ± 40.1 min/d, respectively) athletes (both P values < .05). Correlations between objective and self-reported measures of moderate to vigorous physical activity were moderate across select 1-week and 2-week averages. We observed no group differences in self-reported mental activities. CONCLUSIONS:Physical activity after sport-related concussion varied widely across athletes but on average was reduced during the acute and early subacute postinjury periods for both objective and self-reported measures. The lack of differences in mental activities between groups may reflect limited change in mental exertion postconcussion or difficulty accurately measuring mental activities. Assessing concussed athletes' activities using actigraphy and self-reported scales may help monitor their compliance with activity recommendations and be useful in studies aimed at better understanding the effects of physical activity on concussion recovery.
Project description:<h4>Objective</h4>To determine the degree to which preinjury and acute postinjury psychosocial and injury-related variables predict symptom duration following sport-related concussion.<h4>Methods</h4>A total of 2,055 high school and collegiate athletes completed preseason evaluations. Concussed athletes (n = 127) repeated assessments serially (<24 hours and days 8, 15, and 45) postinjury. Cox proportional hazard modeling was used to predict concussive symptom duration (in days). Predictors considered included demographic and history variables; baseline psychological, neurocognitive, and balance functioning; acute injury characteristics; and postinjury clinical measures.<h4>Results</h4>Preinjury somatic symptom score (Brief Symptom Inventory-18 somatization scale) was the strongest premorbid predictor of symptom duration. Acute (24-hour) postconcussive symptom burden (Sport Concussion Assessment Tool-3 symptom severity) was the best injury-related predictor of recovery. These 2 predictors were moderately correlated (r = 0.51). Path analyses indicated that the relationship between preinjury somatization symptoms and symptom recovery was mediated by postinjury concussive symptoms.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Preinjury somatization symptoms contribute to reported postconcussive symptom recovery via their influence on acute postconcussive symptoms. The findings highlight the relevance of premorbid psychological factors in postconcussive recovery, even in a healthy athlete sample relatively free of psychopathology or medical comorbidities. Future research should elucidate the neurobiopsychosocial mechanisms that explain the role of this individual difference variable in outcome following concussive injury.
Project description:We examined the King-Devick (K-D) test, a vision-based test of rapid number naming, as a complement to components of the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool, 3rd edition (SCAT3) for diagnosis of concussion. Baseline and postconcussion data for the University of Florida men's football, women's soccer, and women's lacrosse teams were collected, including the K-D test, Standardized Assessment of Concussion (SAC), and Balance Error Scoring System (BESS). Among 30 athletes with first concussion during their athletic season (n = 217 total), differences from baseline to postinjury showed worsening of K-D time scores in 79%, while SAC showed a ?2-point worsening in 52%. Combining K-D and SAC captured abnormalities in 89%; adding the BESS identified 100% of concussions. Adding a vision-based test may enhance the detection of athletes with concussion.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Timely removal from activity after concussion symptoms remains problematic despite heightened awareness. Previous studies indicated potential adverse effects of continuing to participate in physical activity immediately after sustaining a concussion. Hypothesis/Purpose: The purpose was to determine the effect of timing of removal from play after concussion on clinical outcomes. It was hypothesized that immediate removal from activity after sport-related concussion (SRC) would be associated with less time missed from sport, a shorter symptomatic period, and better outcomes on acute clinical measures. STUDY DESIGN:Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3. METHODS:Data were reported from the National Collegiate Athletic Association and Department of Defense Grand Alliance: Concussion Awareness, Research, and Education (CARE) Consortium. Participants with 506 diagnosed SRCs from 18 sports and 25 institutions and military service academies were analyzed and classified as either immediate removal from activity (I-RFA) or delayed removal from activity (D-RFA). Outcomes of interest included time missed from sport attributed to their SRC, symptom duration, and clinical assessment scores. RESULTS:There were 322 participants (63.6%) characterized as D-RFA. I-RFA status was associated with significantly less time missed from sport ( R2 change = .022-.024, P < .001 to P = .001) and shorter symptom duration ( R2 change = .044-.046, P < .001 [all imputations]) while controlling for other SRC recovery modifiers. These athletes missed approximately 3 fewer days from sport participation. I-RFA athletes had significantly less severe acute SRC symptoms and were at lower risk of recovery taking ?14 days (relative risk = .614, P < .001, small-medium effect size) and ?21 days (relative risk = .534, P = .010, small effect size). CONCLUSION:I-RFA is a protective factor associated with less severe acute symptoms and shorter recovery after SRC. Conveying this message to athletes, coaches, and others involved in the care of athletes may promote timely injury reporting.
Project description:Studies have indicated that concussive and sub-concussive brain injuries that are frequent during collision sports may lead to long-term neurological abnormalities, however there is a knowledge gap on how biological sex modifies outcomes. Blood-based biomarkers can help to identify the molecular pathology induced by brain injuries and to better understand how biological sex affects the molecular changes. We therefore analyzed serum protein biomarkers in male (n = 50) and female (n = 33) amateur Australian rules footballers (i.e., Australia's most participated collision sport), both with a history of concussion (HoC) and without a history of concussion (NoHoC). These profiles were compared to those of age-matched control male (n = 24) and female (n = 20) athletes with no history of neurotrauma or participation in collision sports. Serum levels of protein markers indicative of neuronal, axonal and glial injury (UCH-L1, NfL, tau, p-tau, GFAP, BLBP, PEA15), metabolic (4-HNE) and vascular changes (VEGF-A, vWF, CLDN5), and inflammation (HMGB1) were assessed using reverse phase protein microarrays. Male, but not female, footballers had increased serum levels of VEGF-A compared to controls regardless of concussion history. In addition, only male footballers who had HoC had increased serum levels of 4-HNE. These findings being restricted to males may be related to shorter collision sport career lengths for females compared to males. In summary, these findings show that male Australian rules footballers have elevated levels of serum biomarkers indicative of vascular abnormalities (VEGF-A) and oxidative stress (4-HNE) in comparison to non-collision control athletes. While future studies are required to determine how these findings relate to neurological function, serum levels of VEGF-A and 4-HNE may be useful to monitor subclinical neurological injury in males participating in collision sports.
Project description:Head computed tomography (CT) imaging is still a commonly obtained diagnostic test for patients with minor head injury despite availability of clinical decision rules to guide imaging use and recommendations to reduce radiation exposure resulting from unnecessary imaging. This prospective multicenter observational study of 251 patients with suspected mild to moderate traumatic brain injury (TBI) evaluated three serum biomarkers' (glial fibrillary acidic protein [GFAP], ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase-L1 [UCH-L1] and S100B measured within 6 h of injury) ability to differentiate CT negative and CT positive findings. Of the 251 patients, 60.2% were male and 225 (89.6%) had a presenting Glasgow Coma Scale score of 15. A positive head CT (intracranial injury) was found in 36 (14.3%). UCH-L1 was 100% sensitive and 39% specific at a cutoff value >40 pg/mL. To retain 100% sensitivity, GFAP was 0% specific (cutoff value 0 pg/mL) and S100B had a specificity of only 2% (cutoff value 30 pg/mL). All three biomarkers had similar values for areas under the receiver operator characteristic curve: 0.79 (95% confidence interval; 0.70-0.88) for GFAP, 0.80 (0.71-0.89) for UCH-L1, and 0.75 (0.65-0.85) for S100B. Neither GFAP nor UCH-L1 curve values differed significantly from S100B (p = 0.21 and p = 0.77, respectively). In our patient cohort, UCH-L1 outperformed GFAP and S100B when the goal was to reduce CT use without sacrificing sensitivity. UCH-L1 values <40 pg/mL could potentially have aided in eliminating 83 of the 215 negative CT scans. These results require replication in other studies before the test is used in actual clinical practice.
Project description:Studies using blood-oxygenation-level-dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging (BOLD fMRI) have characterized how the resting brain is affected by concussion. The literature to date, however, has largely focused on measuring changes in the spatial organization of functional brain networks. In the present study, changes in the temporal dynamics of BOLD signals are examined throughout concussion recovery using scaling (or fractal) analysis. Imaging data were collected for 228 university-level athletes, 61 with concussion and 167 athletic controls. Concussed athletes were scanned at the acute phase of injury (1-7?days postinjury), the subacute phase (8-14?days postinjury), medical clearance to return to sport (RTS), 1?month post-RTS and 1?year post-RTS. The wavelet leader multifractal approach was used to assess scaling ( c1 ) and multifractal ( c2 ) behavior. Significant longitudinal changes were identified for c1 , which was lowest at acute injury, became significantly elevated at RTS, and returned near control levels by 1?year post-RTS. No longitudinal changes were identified for c2 . Secondary analyses showed that clinical measures of acute symptom severity and time to RTP were related to longitudinal changes in c1 . Athletes with both higher symptoms and prolonged recovery had elevated c1 values at RTS, while athletes with higher symptoms but rapid recovery had reduced c1 at acute injury. This study provides the first evidence for long-term recovery of BOLD scale-free brain dynamics after a concussion.
Project description:<h4>Objective</h4>To study longitudinal recovery trajectories of white matter after sports-related concussion (SRC) by performing diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) on collegiate athletes who sustained SRC.<h4>Methods</h4>Collegiate athletes (n = 219, 82 concussed athletes, 68 contact-sport controls, and 69 non-contact-sport controls) were included from the Concussion Assessment, Research and Education Consortium. The participants completed clinical assessments and DTI at 4 time points: 24 to 48 hours after injury, asymptomatic state, 7 days after return-to-play, and 6 months after injury. Tract-based spatial statistics was used to investigate group differences in DTI metrics and to identify white-matter areas with persistent abnormalities. Generalized linear mixed models were used to study longitudinal changes and associations between outcome measures and DTI metrics. Cox proportional hazards model was used to study effects of white-matter abnormalities on recovery time.<h4>Results</h4>In the white matter of concussed athletes, DTI-derived mean diffusivity was significantly higher than in the controls at 24 to 48 hours after injury and beyond the point when the concussed athletes became asymptomatic. While the extent of affected white matter decreased over time, part of the corpus callosum had persistent group differences across all the time points. Furthermore, greater elevation of mean diffusivity at acute concussion was associated with worse clinical outcome measures (i.e., Brief Symptom Inventory scores and symptom severity scores) and prolonged recovery time. No significant differences in DTI metrics were observed between the contact-sport and non-contact-sport controls.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Changes in white matter were evident after SRC at 6 months after injury but were not observed in contact-sport exposure. Furthermore, the persistent white-matter abnormalities were associated with clinical outcomes and delayed recovery time.