Mapping blood flow in the brain of athletes using an advanced form of ultrasound may make it easier to more accurately recognize concussions, according to a new study. “There is growing evidence that concussions can change the blood flow in the brain,” said study author Robert Hamilton, PhD. “While such changes may be detected with MRI, we believe there may be a less expensive and portable way to measure these changes with a transcranial Doppler (TCD) device.” TCD uses ultrasound to map blood flow activity in the brain.
Researchers compared a group of 66 high school athletes in contact sports who had been recently diagnosed with a concussion to a control group of 169 high school student athletes from both contact and non-contact sports. The study found that the advanced version of TCD ultrasound was able to differentiate between healthy and concussed athletes 83 percent of the time. “This research suggests that this advanced form of ultrasound may provide a more accurate diagnosis of concussion,” said Hamilton. “While more research is needed, the hope is such a tool could one day be used on the sidelines to help determine more quickly whether an athlete needs further testing.”