This ‘simple blood test’ could catch concussions missed by CT scans

tbi blood test
Image: U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Teresa J. Cleveland

Many patients with concussion have normal CT scans and are discharged from the hospital without follow-up. But a blood test that is currently under development and costs a fraction of the price of a brain scan may flag concussion in these CT-negative patients, enabling them to be evaluated for long-term complications.

In a study led by UC San Francisco, researchers tracked 450 patients with suspected traumatic brain injury (TBI).

The patients, whose injuries were mainly attributed to traffic accidents or falls, all had normal CT scans, according to the study publishing in The Lancet Neurology on Aug. 23, 2019.

Within 24 hours of their accidents, the patients had their blood drawn to measure for glial fibrillary acidic protein, a marker correlating to TBI.

Related article:  Is this the Alzheimer’s blood test we've been looking for?

The researchers later confirmed the blood test results against MRI, a more sensitive and expensive scan that is not as widely available as CT but offers a more definitive diagnosis of TBI. They found that 120 of these 450 patients (27 percent) had an MRI that was positive for TBI.

“Our earlier research has shown that even in the best trauma centers, patients with TBI are not getting the care they need,” said [neurosurgeon] Geoffrey Manley.

Read full, original post: Simple Blood Test Unmasks Concussions Absent on CT Scans

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