Biomarkers of mild traumatic brain injury in children: predicting outcome and understanding recovery

Principal Investigator: Stacey Suskauer

Scientific Abstract: Current management of childhood mild TBI (mTBI, also known as concussion) is symptombased. Symptoms may last from hours to years, yet we lack objective biomarkers with which to predict outcome, inform treatment, and evaluate risk for chronic sequelae of the current or future injuries. The proposed projects evaluate potential biomarkers of mTBI for their ability to predict and assess subacute recovery from childhood concussion. We will test the utility of blood Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein (GFAP) and urine N-acetyl aspartate (NAA) obtained shortly after injury for predicting outcome from mTBI. We will also explore the use of cerebral blood flow (CBF) imaging for predicting outcome, evaluating whether symptomatic recovery is associated with normalization of brain physiology, and for correlation of circulating biomarkers to brain function. The results of this study will directly inform future work toward improved understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying the sequelae of childhood mTBI and development of new diagnostic and therapeutic interventions to improve recovery after injury.