Diagnosing TBIs with blood tests

Pennsylvania residents who have sustained a head trauma may benefit from a simple test that can determine if they have a traumatic brain injury. Thanks to university researchers, a rudimentary blood test to detect certain biomarkers may be able to do so. The university researchers have identified four proteins that are released from brain cells, referred to as astrocytes, when the outer lining of the cells have been broken open as a result of trauma from whiplash or blunt force.

It is not unusual for concussions, or mild traumatic brain injuries, to be undiagnosed. However, the injuries can result in permanent neurological complications, particularly if they occur repeatedly. In order to determine the degree of consciousness that is present in someone who has sustained an impact to the head, physicians currently use a standard scoring system or CT scans. According to research, these methods have little or no positive impact on a patient’s disability or recovery, and neither method is believed to help with identifying mild brain injuries. This has resulted in individuals, such as military personnel or athletes, who tend to sustain mild head injuries frequently, failing to take the steps that are necessary to recover.

The failings of the current diagnostic practices have prompted scientists to identify unique indicators that could help accurately detect mild traumatic brain injuries in their early stages. There is hope that the indicators could also be used to evaluate the severity of traumatic brain injuries to determine the proper course of treatment.

Although they are popularly associated with football and other contact sports, brain injuries can be caused by other incidents, such as a car collision or a sudden slip and fall. If it can be determined that the injury is due to the negligence of another party, legal counsel could assist a victim in seeking appropriate compensation.