Researchers at Orlando Regional Medical Center, in Orlando, Fla., found the biomarker glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) was significantly elevated in the blood of young patients whose brain scans indicated lesions, a sign of mild and moderate TBIs (MMTBIs). They also found a link between individuals reporting MMTBI symptoms and a higher elevation of GFAP in their blood. Study authors said their results suggest blood tests for GFAP could help doctors evaluate injury without exposing youths to potentially harmful radiation from CT scans. And, if brain trauma has occurred, the GFAP level could indicate how severe the injury is, thus helping doctors prescribe the most appropriate treatment. Overall, the blood test was 94 percent accurate at predicting a TBI six hours post-injury, the time frame during which blood samples were drawn in the study.
Dr. Wayne Gordon, at Mount Sinai, said the study’s findings were interesting and that they merit further research, namely on how the level of GFAP changes beyond the six-hour mark post-injury. Gordon was not involved in Papa’s study. ”But on the other hand, you don’t have any real sensitive tool for diagnosis [of MMTBIs],” Gordon told FoxNews.com. “So that’s where this blood test could become helpful— because if it’s found to be sensitive in a very large sample of young children, it could ultimately eventually replace CT scans or be used in conjunction with CT scans. If you had a positive finding, you’d know it was a bleed, and you’d want to use a CT scan.”