A new blood test can detect a concussion up to a week after a head injury, experts have revealed. This finding could greatly expand the window for diagnosing concussions – particularly in patients who experience delayed onset symptoms. The team of scientists analyzed a biomarker known as a glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). The proteins are found in glial cells – which surround neurons in the brain.
The study, published in the journal JAMA Neurology, followed nearly 600 patients for three years. When cross-checked with brain scans, the blood test was able to detect mild to moderate traumatic brain lesions with up to 97 per cent accuracy in patients age 18 and older. The test could also reduce the need for CT scans. The results showed that the blood test could detect brain injuries with 91 per cent accuracy – nearly as effective as state-of-the-art CT scans.
Dr Papa added: ‘We have so many diagnostic blood tests for different parts of the body, like the heart, liver and kidneys, but there’s never been a reliable blood test to identify trauma in the brain. We think this could change that.’