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Blood Test Revealing Brain Concussion Injury is Approved by FDA

2018-02-15

Developed by Banyan Biomarkers, the Brain Trauma Indicator test is a quantitative assay for ubiquitin carboxy-terminal hydrolase L1 and glial fibrillary acidic protein, which are released into the blood following neural injury. The test should be performed within 12 hours of injury; results are available in 3-4 hours, the FDA said.

Trial data involving nearly 2,000 individuals with with suspected concussion or mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) showed that the test was 97.5% accurate in identifying those with visible lesions on CT scans, and 99.6% accurate in predicting those who did not show such lesions.

The above is a quote from a “Medpage Today” article (medpagetoday.com)– an online medical news summary site that sends daily links to new stories by email. 

The news is an exciting advance that will allow emergency room and acute care physicians to avoid performing CT scans on every patient with closed-head trauma and suspected concussion, a brain injury that, if repeated several times in quick succession (say, in a month) can lead to chronic traumatic brain degeneration (chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE).  This syndrome entails personality changes, memory loss, and difficulty concentrating, among other serious long-term complications.   The high specific sensitivity for ruling out visible CT lesions is particularly helpful in decision making.  However, regardless of the presence or absence of this marker, patients should still be warned not to expose themselves to further injury for a significant period of time after being seen.

Football players are especially at risk for this very serious disorder– many professional football players have had their lives destroyed by first, the condition, and second, the National Football League’s denials that they were responsible (the NFL has recently reversed its position on this issue).  Football players who commit suicide by gunshot wound have lately taken to shooting themselves in the chest and requesting autopsies of their brains to disclose the presence of this condition– something that may at least bring closure to their families.  Imagine being suicidal and choosing such a method to show that your suspicions about the cause of your self-lethality are correct.  Not a pleasant prospect.

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com and KeithJJ)

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