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FDA approves blood test that can detect brain injuries

Diagnosing a concussion as quickly as possible is crucial in minimizing the damage it can cause. Unfortunately, there are obstacles that stand in the way of a speedy diagnosis, including unfamiliarity with symptoms of a brain injury, fears about CT scans and delayed signs of trauma.

However, these obstacles may not be as big of a problem in the very near future, thanks to a new blood test recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator

As noted in an article from The New York Times, the test is the Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator, and it is a blood test that measures specific proteins (GFAP and UCH-L1) that are released into the blood after a head injury. Based on the measurements of the proteins, doctors can determine whether a patient has intracranial lesions. Reports note that the test can accurately predict lesions 97.5 percent of the time. It also accurately predicts the absence of lesions in 99.6 percent of cases.

Eliminating obstacles

The availability of this blood test offers a fast, accurate way to assess concussions without the need for CT scans, which exposes patients to radiation. It can also be administered before the onset or recognition of symptoms.

The fact that the FDA approved the test is certainly promising, though its approval is limited to evaluations of adult patients. Whether clinics here in New York will adopt the test remains to be seen.

What the future holds

Researchers and advocates of this test hope that it will become widely available in the U.S. and approved for use on children. If this happens, we could see dramatic improvements in the care people receive after a car accident and in areas like youth and professional sports where the risk of concussion remains high.

In the meantime, though, victims of accidents or collisions should continue to seek medical attention after any incident that could cause a serious brain injury, whether this means getting a blood test or undergoing a neurological examination. Doing so immediately allows doctors to assess your symptoms and diagnose a potentially serious condition as quickly as possible.

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