By: Allan M. Siegel
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can often be tricky to diagnose and treat,
and outcomes for victims are also difficult to predict. Although the human
brain remains much of a mystery to medical science, experts have made
significant progress in identifying and treating these serious injuries.
According to a recently published study in the
Journal of Neurotrauma, a new blood test may even be able to diagnose traumatic brain injuries.
Until recently, TBI testing methods have relied on CT scans and evaluations
of patients’ symptoms to make decisions about having victims refrain
from or return to their normal activities. Unfortunately, CT scans fall
short because they are only capable of detecting bleeding in the brain,
not brain cell damage, which can occur without bleeding.
The pitfalls of this diagnostic system means that many victims who have
CT scans that show no bleeding, but in fact experienced brain trauma,
could be sent home without treatment or recommendations to avoid activity.
In an effort to find better ways to identify TBI, researchers turned to
blood tests to see if they could better predict ongoing brain injury-related problems.
Here are some details about the blood test study:
- Researchers gathered 300 TBI victims and 150 individuals without brain
injuries and measured the levels of three proteins suspected to play a
role in brain cell activity. Subjects were evaluated for six months.
- Researchers ultimately found that levels of the protein “brain-derived
neurotrophic factor” (BDNF) could predict TBI severity and patient
outcomes if evaluated within 24 hours of injury. Patients with TBI on
average had less than one-third the amount of BDNF in their blood as compared
to a healthy person.
- The study also noted that patients with higher levels of BDNF often made
near-to-full recoveries from TBI after six months, and that patients with
lower levels experienced adverse symptoms longer.
The study provides promising insight to help doctors better and more quickly
identify TBI, especially if the blood test for BDNF is performed when
patients arrive at emergency rooms. The benefits of a quick diagnosis,
researchers state, could tremendously improve doctors’ ability to
provide adequate treatment, including suggestions about returning to usual
activities, and ultimately enable patients to recover faster.
Having represented brain injury victims for many years, our personal injury
attorneys are constantly amazed by the developments and progress made
in the TBI field. Although new testing and treatment methods help, victims
and their families continue to face numerous physical, emotional, and
financial setbacks following
If you have questions about your rights following a brain injury, our lawyers
selected as “preferred attorneys” by the Brain Injury Association
of America for the Washington, DC Metropolitan area and are available to help.
Contact us today to request a free case evaluation.