Blood test detects concussion up to a week after head injury

It is hoped that it will help diagnose children who have sustained a concussion. 

A new blood test can detect a concussion up to a week after a head injury, experts have revealed. Currently, nearly all concussions in children are diagnosed solely by symptoms.
Those symptoms are either observed – including vomiting or loss of balance – or reported by the child, such as blurred vision or headaches. Yet, if patients of any age are not diagnosed properly and treated appropriately, they could suffer long-term health problems – such as prolonged headaches, dizziness, memory loss and depression. But now, scientists discovered that a biomarker released by the brain when the head is injured remains in the bloodstream for seven days. This finding could greatly expand the window for diagnosing concussions – particularly in patients who experience delayed onset symptoms. Study lead author Dr Linda Papa, of Orlando Health, in Florida, said: "Symptoms of a concussion, or a mild to moderate traumatic brain injury, can be subtle and often delayed, in many cases by several days. "This could provide doctors with an important tool for simply and accurately diagnosing those patients, particularly children, and making sure they are treated properly." 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. When a head injury occurs, the GFAP are released – passing through the blood-brain barrier and into the bloodstream. That’s why GFAP are easy to detect with the new test, according to the study. The test was also able to indicate which patients were in need of life-saving neurosurgery. Thus, the blood test could potentially be used by clinicians up to a week after injury to detect brain injury, the scientists concluded. The test could prove very important, as most concussion patients don’t’ seek medical attention for several days after being injured. Read more about concussion here. 
Share page
Print page
Follow us