Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
Health | By Jay Jacobs

Blood test detects concussion related brain damage

Blood test detects concussion related brain damage

Bazarian called the test "a huge step" toward devising a blood test that can detect brain injuries including concussions. But many people who have such a scan do not have brain lesions that are detectable, the FDA said Wednesday in a news release.

"Helping to deliver innovative testing technologies that minimize health impacts to patients while still providing accurate and reliable results to inform appropriate evaluation and treatment is an FDA priority", Scott Gottlieb, MD, FDA Commissioner, said in a statement.

The FDA's ruling allows Banyan Biomarkers, a biotech company, to begin marketing for the blood test. Results of the blood test is available within three and four hours. Rather, it's an indicator of the likelihood that a CT scan will show intracranial lesions, and hence may be valuable in deciding whether CT scans are indicated.

The Brain Trauma Indicator measures levels of specific proteins that are released from the brain into the bloodstream within 12 hours of a head injury.

The test can help doctors identify which patients would require computed tomography (CT) scan to check if they have brain damage. As traumatic brain injuries mounted during the US conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the armed forces have urgently sought a blood test capable of predicting quickly whether a blow to the head has likely caused bleeding or bruising in the brain.

The FDA's approval of the blood test, given Wednesday, was based on a clinical trial that included more than 1,900 adults with suspected concussion. It's created to help doctors quickly determine which patients with suspected concussions may have brain bleeding or other brain injury. The study revealed that the blood test reliably predicted the presence and absence of intracranial lesions on a CT scan 97.8% and 99.6% of the time, respectively, according to the FDA.

The test doesn't detect concussions and the approval won't immediately change how patients with suspected concussions or other brain trauma are treated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that in 2013, there were roughly 2.8 million emergency department visits, hospitalizations and deaths in the US related to traumatic brain injury, or TBI.

Dr. Walter Koroshetz, director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and other brain injury experts say the test isn't sensitive enough to rule out concussions.

Mr. Nordhoff said by using this device it will be easy for physicians to evaluate children for concussions.

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