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Your brain injury may be detectable with a blood test

Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a blood test that has the ability to identify concussions so that people with potential brain injuries can promptly receive the treatment they need. The detection capabilities of the Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator (BBTI) might even limit the number of people that have to undergo CT scans or other tests that expose patients to radiation.

Lately, brain damage as a result of concussions has been a prominent issue for those who participate in certain sporting activities. For example, football players -- from those still in grade school to those who play professionally -- typically sustain one or more concussions. In the most severe cases, players have died, and those who have suffered multiple concussions have developed other medical conditions as a result.

How will it make a difference?

A spokeswoman for the FDA expects that the new blood test will completely change the way doctors and medical staff detect concussions. The Defense Department worked with the FDA on the application of the test with the hopes of eventually using it in combat zones when soldiers suffer head injuries. The Pentagon also aided in the drug's approval by financing a 2,000-person trial.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there were approximately 2.8 million instances of people admitted to emergency rooms for traumatic brain injury symptoms. Of these, close to 50,000 patients died. If their brain injuries were diagnosed more quickly, many of them may have lived.

ER staff test patients using neurological exams and CT scans. The problem with these tests is that it can take time for certain symptoms to appear. This means that severe injuries might go undetected until it's too late. Also, symptoms are different from one accident victim to another. For example, one person might experience dizziness while another might have sensitivity to light.

How does it work?

The new blood test measures the protein levels that the brain releases into the blood. This indicates which patients might have brain (intracranial) lesions and which do not. This is important, because brain injuries that do not involve these lesions won't show up on CT scans. As a result, those who suffer brain injuries can get the treatment they need without waiting for scans that may or not show the full extent of their injuries.

While the blood test will be a valuable tool for medical professionals and patients, it will not stop accidents from happening. If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury due to the negligence of another, seek the treatment and compensation you deserve.

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