A new blood test could help emergency room doctors quickly diagnose TBI and determine its severity. The findings, published July 10 in the Journal of Neurotrauma, could help identify patients who might benefit from extra therapy or experimental treatments. “Compared to other proteins that have been measured in traumatic brain injury, BDNF does a much better job of predicting outcomes,” says Frederick Korley, MD, PhD, at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Until now most physicians have relied on CT scans and patients’ symptoms to determine whether to send them home and have them resume their usual activities or take extra precautions. However, CT scans can only detect bleeding in the brain, not damage to brain cells, which can happen without bleeding.
Levels of one protein, called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), taken within 24 hours of someone’s head injury, could predict the severity of a TBI and how a patient would fare, they found. TBI patients had less than one-third of the amount of BDNF that healthy patients, and those with the most severe TBIs had even lower levels. Moreover, patients with high levels of BDNF had mostly recovered from their injuries six months later. But in patients with the lowest levels of BDNF, symptoms still lingered at follow-up. READ MORE/CLICK HERE.