New Blood Test for Detecting Concussions

A concussion is mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). It happens most commonly after a sudden blow or bump to the head. Sports injuries in children and young adults, and falls in the elderly are the most common causes of concussions.

Until now, there has been no definitive way to to diagnose a concussion. Doctors usually diagnose it based on history of head injury and symptoms like headache, dizziness, and cognitive problems. They may also order a CT or MRI scan to check for injuries in the brain.  The point of the scan is to detect brain tissue damage, however a majority of patients with concussions don’t have detectable brain tissue damage. In addition, many medical experts are concerned with reducing radiation exposure in patients.

Introducing the Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator

Approved last week by the FDA, the Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator is a blood test designed to evaluate mTBI. The blood test is able to detect bruising and bleeding on the brain with 97.5% accuracy, and can observe the absence of damage 99% of the time. It works by detecting certain proteins released by the brain after an injury. The blood test will revolutionize concussion diagnosis, and will be a huge money-saver for hospitals.

Blood tests are much cheaper than CT scans, and they are basically painless. There are no averse side effects associated with blood tests, which is not the case with CT scans. One CT scan uses the same amount of radiation as 20 chest scans. Switching to the blood test will eliminate the need for all that radiation exposure.

“Availability of a blood test for mTBI/concussion will likely reduce the CT scans performed on patients with concussion each year, potentially saving our health care system the cost of often unnecessary neuroimaging tests,” said Dr. Scott Gottlieb, FDA Commissioner in a press release.

Trauma affects the body worse as we age, so seniors who fall are more likely to sustain a concussion. Since early evaluation and diagnosis are critical for quicker and easier recovery, this blood test will be a game changer.

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