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Episodio #74: Un test rapido per diagnosticare la concussione offre nuove speranze

Australia's Steve Smith ends up on the ground after being hit by the ball during day four of the Ashes Test match at Lord's, London. Source: Mike Egerton/PA Wire

I ricercatori hanno sviluppato un nuovo modo per diagnosticare la commozione cerebrale in soli 15 minuti. Con molte commozioni cerebrali ancora non diagnosticate nel paese, gli esperti sperano che un semplice esame del sangue possa cambiare il modo in cui vengono affrontate le lesioni cerebrali.

Slow Italian, Fast Learning, il meglio dei nostri servizi della settimana, letti più lentamente e più scanditi, con i testi in italiano e in inglese.

Italian

((UPSOT))

(Leggo da qui)

L'ex campione dell’AFL Jude Bolton è abituato a prendere duri colpi alla testa e afferma di aver avuto sette gravi commozioni cerebrali durante la sua carriera e si tratta solo di quelle diagnosticate.

(("We probably didn't take it seriously when I first started, it was almost joking about the fact that someone was 'lights out' or 'candles', and things like that, they couldn't blow a candle out."))

Ma visto che il problema della commozione cerebrale ora domina la scena sportiva australiana, atleti come Jude Bolton sperano in un cambiamento.

(("The biggest concern I have is just having a blanket 'oh they'll sit out for the next week' because every concussion is different. Some of the ones that look innocuous can be the most significant. So more subjective and objective data is critical."))

Sono ricerche critiche come quella condotta da scienziati negli Stati Uniti, che stanno sviluppando il primo esame del sangue portatile, che potrebbero aiutare i medici a valutare le commozioni cerebrali in soli 15 minuti.

Questo è il parere del neuropsicologo dell'Università del New South Wales, Travis Wearne.

(("Typically a mild brain injury can be just from a knock on the head, but also from a concussion that is sustained in a sports injury. And it's usually both of those, the mild brain injury on that lower end of the spectrum that account for 85 per cent of all brain injuries."))

Per rilevare una lieve lesione cerebrale come la commozione cerebrale, i medici conducono un esame fisico.

Spesso quindi prescrivono una TAC per confermare la diagnosi di una lesione cerebrale, ma la ricerca suggerisce che simili esami non sono sempre affidabili.

L'esame del sangue misura i livelli della proteina G-F-A-P, la proteina rilasciata dal cervello quando viene danneggiato.

La loro ricerca indica che l'esame del sangue è in grado di rilevare la proteina - e confermare una commozione cerebrale - anche se la TAC risulta negativa.

(("Currently a lot of people who have a concussion don't show changes in their imaging during those initial stages, so the blood test is used to try and identify who potentially does need further imaging, and further support down the track."))

Il test potrebbe anche ridurre l'esposizione non necessaria alle radiazioni e l'onere complessivo per i servizi ospedalieri.

La ricerca è ancora in fase di sviluppo ed è stata sperimentata solo sugli adulti.

Il professor Gary Browne, dell'ospedale pediatrico di Westmead, afferma che devono essere condotte ulteriori ricerche sulla rilevazione di commozioni cerebrali nei bambini.

(("Many children can present with very non-specific symptoms, they may not even have a concussion and they go down the whole concussion assessment pathway quite unnecessarily, and some children, their symptoms are just so subtle and non-specific, they're actually missed and often ignored."))

A suo parere l'identificazione della proteina G-F-A-P come indicatore può essere applicata anche ai bambini.

(("We think, although there's really minimal evidence at the moment in children, but we think that this will probably pan out what we see in adults, with GFAP being a very useful indicator of structural injury will probably pan out in children and hence will be a very useful test in terms of determining if a child needs to go down the neurosurgical, the brain imaging pathway."))

Si tratta di un semplice test che i medici si augurano abbia il potenziale per proteggere le teste della prossima generazione.

Articolo di Amelia Dunn per SBS News, letto da Marco Lucchi, SBS Italian

English

((UPSOT))

Former AFL star Jude Bolton is no stranger to a hard knock on the head.

He says he had seven major concussions during his career... and they're just the ones that were diagnosed.

(("We probably didn't take it seriously when I first started, it was almost joking about the fact that someone was 'lights out' or 'candles', and things like that, they couldn't blow a candle out."))

But with the issue of concussion now dominating the Australian sports scene, sports people like Jude Bolton are hoping for change.

(("The biggest concern I have is just having a blanket 'oh they'll sit out for the next week' because every concussion is different. Some of the ones that look innocuous can be the most significant. So more subjective and objective data is critical."))

It's critical research like this being undertaken by scientists in the United States who are developing the first portable blood test, that could help doctors assess concussions in just 15 minutes.

University of New South Wales neuropsychologist Travis Wearne explains.

(("Typically a mild brain injury can be just from a knock on the head, but also from a concussion that is sustained in a sports injury. And it's usually both of those, the mild brain injury on that lower end of the spectrum that account for 85 per cent of all brain injuries."))

To detect a mild brain injury like concussion, doctors conduct a physical examination.

They then often order a CT scan to confirm the diagnosis of a brain injury, but the research suggests these are not always reliable.

The blood test works by measuring levels of the G-F-A-P protein - the protein released by the brain when it's damaged.

Their research indicates the blood test was able to detect the protein – and confirm a concussion - even if the CT scan came back negative.

((WEARNE 2))

(("Currently a lot of people who have a concussion don't show changes in their imaging during those initial stages, so the blood test is used to try and identify who potentially does need further imaging, and further support down the track."))

The test could also reduce unnecessary exposure to radiation, and the overall burden on hospital services.

The research is still in the development stage and has only been tested on adults.

Professor Gary Browne, from The Children's Hospital at Westmead, says more research into detecting concussion in children needs to be done.

(("Many children can present with very non-specific symptoms, they may not even have a concussion and they go down the whole concussion assessment pathway quite unnecessarily, and some children, their symptoms are just so subtle and non-specific, they're actually missed and often ignored."))

He says identifying the G-F-A-P protein as an indicator can hopefully be applied to children as well.

(("We think, although there's really minimal evidence at the moment in children, but we think that this will probably pan out what we see in adults, with GFAP being a very useful indicator of structural injury will probably pan out in children and hence will be a very useful test in terms of determining if a child needs to go down the neurosurgical, the brain imaging pathway."))

It's a simple test that doctors hope will have the potential to safeguard the heads of the next generation.

That story by Amelia Dunn for SBS News, read by Marco Lucchi for SBS Italian

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