In a new study, researchers found out an unexpected way to diagnose concussions even days after the injury took place.
According to scientists, there’s a kind of protein called glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), found in the glial cells, that it’s released only when there’s a brain injury. They believe these biomarkers belong only to the central nervous system, and what makes them special is that they can go through the blood-brain barrier and enter the bloodstream. Because of that particularity, they can be detected with a blood test.
This discovery will allow doctors to diagnose and treat concussions properly in the near future through a simple blood test. This new system is particularly helpful for patients who delay seeking treatment, in availing treatment, undergoing a medical examination or for patients who have a delayed start of symptoms.
“We have so many diagnostic blood tests for different parts of the body, like the heart, liver and kidneys, but there’s never been a reliable blood test to identify trauma in the brain. We think this test could change that,” Linda Papa, MD, MSC, an emergency medicine physician and NIH researcher at Orlando Health and lead author of the study said.
Even when the results of the study are preliminary, the conclusions point to the development of a blood test that could be used in hospitals, sports events and even on the battlefield, but for reaching that goal there’s still remain a couple years so this project can be fully developed.
The value of the discovery
The problem with concussions is that if they’re no spot early (which sometimes is hard to do) and treated properly, it can lead to long-health issues because of head injuries such as recurrent headaches, difficulties focusing, dizziness, loss of memory and even serious depression or anxiety issues.
For about 3 years, researchers followed approximately 600 patients. By running the blood test in patients of 18 years and older, they were able to diagnose from soft to moderate traumatic brain injuries with an encouraging 97% accuracy. The researchers were even capable of detect which patients needed an urgent neurosurgery.
Source: Maine News Online