FDA Approves New Blood Test to Detect Concussions

joao-victor-xavier-304057-copy-300x169Do you have a child who currently plays a contact sport such as football or soccer in Escondido? Do you often worry about the risks of concussion and the likelihood of coaches properly identifying concussion risks on the field? An article in the National Academies Press, which is a journal connected to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, concussions are notoriously difficult to detect.

The article underscores that “part of the underreporting of concussions stems from the fact that the injury cannot be seen,” given that “with a concussion, there is no obvious injury such as when an arm or leg is dislocated.” There are, of course, signs and symptoms of concussions, but these are not always dispositive. As such, teen athletes and others who sustain blows to the head may suffer from concussions but may not be properly diagnosed. A missed diagnosis or improper diagnosis can result in long-term harm.

However, according to a recent article in The New York Times, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has now approved a blood test that is designed to detect concussions. How does it work?

Learning More About the Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator

The new blood test that is supposed to be able to detect concussions and potentially other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) is known as the Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator. Not only is it supposed to be able to provide information about brain injuries for the purposes of more accurate diagnoses, but it is also supposed to be able to limit the exposure of radiation to many head trauma victims. Currently, most individuals who are suspected of having a TBI will undergo “CT scans, or computed tomography scans, that detect brain tissue damage or intracranial lesions.” As the article highlights, “if the blood test is adopted widely, it could eliminate the need for CT scans in at least a third of those with suspected brain injuries.”

According to Tara Rabin, a spokesperson for the FDA, the blood test “is going to change the testing paradigm for suspected cases of concussion.” The test will be helpful in cases involving athletes suspected of suffering from mild TBI, but also in cases involving soldiers who have been wounded. Indeed, part of the reason the blood test has been approved is because of support from the Pentagon, which provided funding for a clinical trial involving 2,000 people.

Challenges Involved in Diagnosing Concussions

In 2013, there were approximately 2.8 million emergency department visits due to suspected traumatic brain injuries. Of those cases, there were approximately 50,000 deaths. To diagnose TBIs, as we noted above, most physicians first perform a neurological exam, and then a CT scan follows. However, TBIs are very difficult to diagnose. Why is the diagnosis so difficult? One of the reasons is that “symptoms can occur at different times,” and as such a person might arrive at the hospital showing no symptoms while suffering from a serious TBI.

The blood test could change that. It could provide a “quick and accurate” way for healthcare providers to know if a patient has sustained a concussion, and to take appropriate medical action.

Contact a Brain Injury Lawyer in Escondido

Were you or someone you love injured in an accident in Escondido in which you sustained a head trauma? An experienced Escondido brain injury lawyer can speak with you today about your case. Contact the Walton Law Firm for more information.


See Related Blog Posts:

Traumatic Brain Injuries Linked to Intestinal Damage

San Clemente Teens and Concussion Risks: What Do Parents Need to Know?


(image courtesy of joao-victor-xavier)

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