Neurofilament light chain as a blood biomarker can detect brain injury and predict recovery in different groups, including professional hockey players with acute or chronic concussions, according to a study published in Neurology. Traumatic brain injury is a leading cause of death and disability in the US, with more than 2.87 million emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths annually. While the majority of all traumatic brain injuries are classified as mild, it remains difficult to diagnose this condition.
After a traumatic brain injury, neurofilament light chain breaks away from neurons in the brain and collects in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The researchers confirmed that neurofilament light chain also collects in the blood in levels that correlate closely with the levels in the CSF. The group showed that neurofilament light chain in the blood can detect brain injury and predict recovery across all stages of traumatic brain injury.