Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

Blood test detects concussion related brain damage

Blood Test for Concussion OK'd FDA approves first blood test to help diagnose concussions
Johnnie Parks | 15 February, 2018, 16:10

Being able to predict whether patients have a low probability of intracranial lesions can help healthcare professionals manage patients and decide whether or not to perform a CT scan. The U.S. Department of Defense has also expressed interest in the test, suggesting it could be of great value for the military in quickly evaluating the severity of head injuries, and whether more expansive medical is needed for patients in the short term.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized the marketing of a blood test that can help diagnose concussions more quickly and without the need for X-rays.

After deliberations that took less than six months, the FDA approved the marketing of the Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator to aid the evaluation of concussions in adults.

FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said the test fits with the agency's goals for delivering new technologies to patients and reducing unnecessary radiation exposure.

Known as the Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator, it could help reduce the need for CT scans and thus decrease radiation exposure to patients, according to the FDA. It is manufactured by Banyan Biomarkers Inc., in Alachua, Florida. Elevated levels of UCH-L1 and GFAP in the blood have been shown to effectively correlate with patients that have intracranial lesions.

The test can help doctors identify which patients would require computed tomography (CT) scan to check if they have brain damage. Test results can be available within three to four hours.

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These proteins are released from the brain into blood and measured within 12 hours of the head injury.

Cleveland Clinic Concussion Center director Jay Alberts said that the blood test will be most useful in assessing mild head injuries when it isn't clear if someone has concussion. 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. And traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) helped kill almost 50,000 people that year. It could rule out the need for a CT scan in at least one-third of those suspected of having a concussion, the FDA said.

It found that the blood test predicted evidence of brain tissue damage on a CT scan 97.5 percent of the time.

The test doesn't detect concussions and the approval won't immediately change how patients with suspected concussions or other brain trauma are treated.

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

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