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Litigation: Brain Injury News and Information
Can a blood test detect mild traumatic brain injury?
By Michael Kaplen
USA Today reported yesterday that Army researchers are reporting that they have found a simple blood test that can be utilized to diagnose brain damage associated with a concussion or a mild traumatic brain injury. "New test can spot mild head trauma"
Concussions and mild traumatic brain injury are difficult to diagnose because many of the symptoms associated with this condition may take days or even weeks to develop. As some symptoms appear, others disappear. Compounding the problem is that not all individuals will develop all the signs and symptoms of a concussion.
In emergency rooms, concussions are also difficult to diagnose because by the time an individual reaches the hospital, they are no longer dazed or confused and their amnesia may have already resolved. When a person is asked in the emergency room if they lost consciousness, it is difficult to obtain a valid response. CT Scans and MRI studies are also of no value in diagnosing a mild traumatic brain injury because in most instances, the damage to the microscopic brain damage does not appear on these tests.
Concussion injuries are common occurrences as a result of car accidents, falls and in sporting activities as well as a result of combat. It is important that individuals who suffer from concussions obtain necessary rehabilitation and avoid situations that can cause a repeat concussion to take place so as to avoid further brain injury.
This new research raises the possibility that a blood test will be able to now detect destruction of nerve cells in the brain and the concussion that results. The blood test developed by Banyan Biomarkers shows the presence of certain proteins in the blood that do not appear in normal individuals and are associated with destruction of brain cells.
The Army intends to use this test to determine concussive injuries in soldiers exposed to blasts. A much larger study, funded by the U.S. Defense Department, is expected to begin next year. It will involve 1,200 patients at 30 trauma centers around the country.
What is not clear at the moment is how soon after an injury this test needs to be taken and how sensitive and specific it is for the detection of brain trauma.
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