In the News: Spit Test May Detect Concussions, PTSD Often Follows Cancer Diagnosis, Proteins in Breast Milk May Prevent Allergies

Spit test may detect concussions. According to a study published in the JAMA Pediatrics, a saliva analysis may reveal if someone has a concussion and determine how long their symptoms may last. With youth concussions on the rise over the last several years, this discovery could help diagnose the injury early on and determine a more accurate treatment plan. In a study of concussed children, teens, and young adults, researchers identified five molecules known as microRNAs in the saliva, which impact protein functions in the body, and found that they can predict which children would have symptoms 30-days out with 85 percent accuracy, compared to 65 percent accuracy when using a standard survey to assess the condition. Want to learn more about concussions? Take a look at this fact sheet. (CNN)

PTSD often follows a cancer diagnosis. Research out of the National University of Malaysia in Bangi has found that many people diagnosed with cancer also develop PTSD and may continue to have this condition after their cancer subsides. Lead study author, Caryn Mei Hsien Chan, Ph.D., evaluated 469 adults who had been diagnosed with various types of cancer. They were assessed for PTSD symptoms six months following their diagnosis, and again four years later. At the six-month mark, Chan and her team found that participants had a 21.7 percent incidence of PTSD symptoms, and that dropped to 6.1 percent at the four-year check-up. However, one-third of the participants diagnosed before showed constant and/or worsening signs of this condition at that point. These findings highlight the importance of screening for PTSD in cancer patients early in the process to allow for maximum treatment and healing. If you want to learn more about PTSD, here are the important facts. (MN)

Proteins in breast milk may prevent allergies. Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical Study have found that exposing egg to the breast milk of mothers during pregnancy and breastfeeding may prevent egg allergies in newborns. In this study, which was conducted on mice, they found that the newborns were given the most allergy protection when their mothers were exposed to eggs before and during pregnancy and breastfeeding, as opposed to just being exposed to eggs during pregnancy but then not going on to breastfeed. In another study, it was discovered that feeding peanut-filled foods to babies at an increased risk of peanut allergies actually decreased the odds of developing a peanut allergy. Allergy specialists are now recommending that expectant mothers do not avoid typical allergy foods (milk, nuts, eggs) during pregnancy and breastfeeding, assuming they do not have those allergies themselves. (SD)