Every day there are many individuals who sustain a traumatic brain injury, whether from a sports related incident, car accident or other incident such as an assault. A new study published in the Journal of Neurotrauma talked about a blood test which could help identify patients who might benefit from extra therapy or experimental treatments. The symptoms following a traumatic brain injury vary widely from individual to individual and may include such symptoms as headache and temporary blurred vision to severe injuries including seizures, confusion, memory and attention problems, muscle weakness of months of coma. These symptoms whether mild or severe are generally caused by damaged brain cells.
Hospitals rely on CT scans and patient symptoms to determine what treatment course to follow. CT scans however only identify bleeding in the brain, not damage to the brain cells, which can happen without bleeding. The study measured the levels of three different proteins and found that the level of one of these proteins, taken within 24 hours of head injury, could predict the severity of the traumatic brain injury and how the individual’s recovery would proceed. This test identified that the administration of this blood test in the emergency room could help to identify those patients that would need extra care. This study and the results of it are a great step forward in the treatment of those with traumatic brain injury.