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B.C. researchers look to bridge gap in ‘wildly inconsistent’ concussion diagnoses

Researchers at UBC looking to create new criteria when it comes to diagnosing concussions (Photo: Daniel Taylor)

B.C. researchers are hoping to bridge the gap of what they are calling “wildly inconsistent” concussion diagnosis.

According to new research released Tuesday (May 23), University of B.C. researchers released a new standard of criteria for diagnosing a concussion, in partnership with Harvard-affiliated Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.

The researchers found that the “criteria used to diagnose such injuries have become wildly inconsistent.” These inconsistencies also created unequal care from patient to patient, according to a study by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine.

READ MORE: ‘A lack of data’: B.C.-based concussion research diving into world of women’s hockey

Each different criterion would yield different results on the same data, the ARCM said. Researchers aimed to change this by creating new criteria that make it easier to compare cases.

“We’ve achieved consensus across a diverse range of experts in developing these new diagnostic criteria,” said Dr. Noah Silverberg, associate professor in UBC’s Department of Psychology.

This new research is trying to create a global standard around the world of brain injuries, according to UBC. The research being done by UBC is supposed to be able to be used among a range of injuries and other circumstances.

An ARCM task force went in front of an “external interdisciplinary expert panel of 32 clinician-scientists from seven countries and various fields such as sports, civilian trauma, and military settings.”

They went through rounds of revisions until 90 percent of the panel agreed on the newfound criteria.

“It’s a challenging journey, but one we’re committed to, as it will pave the way for standardized care and research in this crucial area of health,” Silverberg said.

The researchers will be presenting these new criteria at many differnt international conferences over the next year, with the goal of being put into the medical guidelines around North America.