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‘Concussion’ is not a true diagnosis

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In current usage, ‘concussion’ describes a clinical presentation, but does not identify the underlying pathological process and therefore cannot be considered a true diagnosis. However, mounting evidence indicates diffuse axonal injury as a likely pathological substrate for concussion, thereby providing a framework to develop true diagnostic criteria.

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Fig. 1: Diffuse axonal injury in concussion.

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Acknowledgements

The authors’ work is supported by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, NHS Research Scotland and NIH grants NS38104, NS092389, NS056202, NS094003 and EB021293.

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Correspondence to Douglas H. Smith.

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Smith, D.H., Stewart, W. ‘Concussion’ is not a true diagnosis. Nat Rev Neurol 16, 457–458 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41582-020-0382-y

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