Concussion in Non-athletes: Assessment of Cognition and Symptomatology (CONTACTS) study protocol - an exploratory cohort study investigating the utility of sports concussion assessment tools and salivary microRNAs to diagnose concussion in NHS patients

Emma Toman, Max Riley, Sam Hodgson, Kamal M Yakoub, Lauren Cooper, Jon Bishop, David N Naumann, Richard Welbury, Douglas Hammond, Valentina Di Pietro, Antonio Belli

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Concussion is a complex pathophysiological process with a wide range of non-specific signs and symptoms. There are currently no objective diagnostic tests to identify concussion, and diagnosis relies solely on history and examination. Recent research has identified a unique panel of microRNAs (miRNAs) that distinguish between concussed and non-concussed rugby players. This study aims to assess the diagnostic utility of salivary miRNAs in concussion for a sample of UK National Health Service patients and whether well-established sports-related concussion (SRC) assessment tools may be translated into the emergency department (ED).

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: Concussion in Non-athletes: Assessment of Cognition and Symptomatology is a single-centre, prospective, two-phase cohort study. The concussed cohort will consist of participants with maxillofacial trauma and concurrent concussion. The control cohort will consist of participants with isolated limb trauma and no evidence of concussion. Participants will be recruited in the ED and saliva samples will be taken to identify the presence of miRNAs. The SRC assessments being investigated include the Sports Concussion Assessment Test, Fifth Edition (SCAT5), the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) and the ImPACT Quick. Follow-up will be at 24-48 hours in-hospital and remotely via telephone and email at 14 days and 6 months.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval was granted in February 2021 by the West Midlands Coventry & Warwickshire Research Ethics Committee (ref 20/WM/0299). The investigators intend to submit their study findings for publication in peer-reviewed journals and to disseminate study findings via presentation at academic meetings. The results will also form part of a doctorate thesis, registered at the University of Birmingham.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere062030
Number of pages9
JournalBMJ open
Volume12
Issue number9
Early online date21 Sept 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Sept 2022

Bibliographical note

© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2022. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.

Keywords

  • Athletic Injuries/diagnosis
  • Brain Concussion/diagnosis
  • Cognition
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • State Medicine

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