A Blood Test for Brain Injury
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Even though five million Americans every year are treated in the ER for head injury, one-fifth of the TBI cases, Traumatic Brain Injuries, are not diagnosed. That’s because CT scans aren’t always accurate, but a new test already approved in Europe may do better.

It’s a blood test called TRACK-TBI and it’s fast and accurate. It works by detecting a protein called glial fibrillary acidic protein or GFAP. Studies show it’s a biomarker for TBI which means the protein shows up in the blood when someone gets a brain injury. And researchers created a hand-held device that can identify the protein in fifteen minutes.

For this study, four hundred fifty people with suspected brain injury but who had a negative CT scan were given a blood test for levels of GFAP. Within fifteen minutes, the portable device gave results that were confirmed with MRI scans that those with the highest levels of the protein did turn out to have brain injury.

This new tool can help ER doctors tailor their treatment if they can know immediately whether a patient sustained a TBI. Not only could it save lives but also lessen the effects of long-term injury. This rapid diagnosis would be especially critical for injuries on the battlefield and in sports.

Traumatic Brain Injury ranges from mild to severe. So, getting immediate care can potentially alleviate symptoms that people often suffer for years after an injury.

For more information…

Association between plasma GFAP concentrations and MRI abnormalities in patients with CT-negative traumatic brain injury in the TRACK-TBI cohort: a prospective multicentre study
After traumatic brain injury (TBI), plasma concentration of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) correlates with intracranial injury visible on CT scan. Some patients with suspected TBI with normal CT findings show pathology on MRI. We assessed the discriminative ability of GFAP to identify MRI abnormalities in patients with normal CT findings...

The TRACK-TBI study found that 64% of people with the highest levels of a protein in the blood were confirmed to have brain injury through an MRI scan, even when a CT scan did not detect it. Abbott's diagnostic test, currently in development, is poised to be the first point-of-care blood test for assessing concussions on its next generation i-STAT™ device, providing doctors results in 15 minutes...

Study Finds New Blood Test Could Help Detect Brain Injury In Minutes
Findings from the Transforming Research and Clinical Knowledge in Traumatic Brain Injury (TRACK-TBI) study suggest that technology might be able to fill a significant gap in emergency departments, sport fields and battle fields. Within as little as 15 minutes, patients who might have otherwise gone undiagnosed can be identified...