Feb 16, 2018
Blood Test Approved

A new tool in concussion diagnostics has been approved by the FDA. The Brain Trauma Indicator, made by Banyan Biomarkers, is the first blood test that has been approved for concussion assessment. However, professionals within the medical field have differing opinions on the importance of the test.

An article from Healthline explains that the test measures proteins in the blood called UCH-L1 and GFAP. These proteins increase within 12 hours of a head injury. Pinpointing these proteins can help identify some concussion cases with intracranial bleeds that can also be detected by a CT scan. Using the blood test could then decrease the need for unnecessary CT scans, which are the biggest contributor of medical radiation exposure among Americans.

According to an article from Healio, the decision to approve the blood test was based on a clinical study that used blood samples from 1,947 patients with suspected concussion. The blood tests were compared with CT scan results. The study’s findings showed the blood test to be accurate in predicting the presence of intracranial lesions 97.8 percent of the time, and their absence 99.6 percent of the time.

The small portion of cases that the test identifies are called “complicated TBI” or “moderate TBI. But according to Robert Simon, PhD, a professor and researcher with the University of Pennsylvania Center for Brain Surgery and Repair, most mild TBI cases don’t have intracranial hemorrhages and are CT negative. And approximately a quarter of patients with true mild TBI continue to have persistent symptoms.

We still have no way to identify among mild TBI sufferers the subset at risk of developing these long-lasting brain performance problems

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