Test could be better than CT scan at predicting brain injury

Millions of traumatic brain injuries take place every year in California and around the country, but people may soon benefit from a new blood test that could help emergency room doctors detect a TBI and its severity. According to the findings published in the July 10 issue of the Journal of Neurotrauma, the test could identify if a patient might benefit from an experimental treatment or extra therapy.

The blood test measures a protein that seems to help doctors predict the outcome when a patient might be suffering from a TBI. These injuries are usually caused by damaged brain cells, and the CT scans physicians use are imperfect for detecting them. CT scans detect bleeding in the brain, but brain cell damage can happen even without bleeding.

A physician might send someone home with mild or no symptoms if a CT scan shows no bleeding, but the patient may still experience problems after going home. Physicians associated with the study wanted to find out if a blood test could reveal the patients that would have ongoing TBI related symptoms and decided to measure the proteins that might play a role in brain cell activity. When studying 300 patients with a TBI and 150 without one, they found that a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor could tell them about a patient’s condition when measured within 24 hours of a head injury.

A TBI caused by a blow to the head is often the result of a car accident. An injured victim of such an accident that was caused by the negligence of another driver may want to speak with a personal injury attorney to determine the recourse that may be available.

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