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FDA approves blood test that determines severity of concussions

From Engadget - February 15, 2018

Similarly, neurological tests, which take some time to complete, are not always accurate since the medical professional conducting it does not always have the patient's baseline performance to compare it to. So, taking all of that into account, serious brain injuries can slip through the cracks. But a blood test could provide an objective measure of head trauma that could give physicians more solid information to work off of and help guide their treatment plans.

The test approved by the FDA was developed by Banyan Biomarkers and it measures two proteins the brain releases into the blood after a head injury. The FDA says that it was able to predict the presence of a brain lesion 97.5 percent of the time and correctly determine who did not have a lesion 99.6 percent of the time. Such a test could be used by physicians to help them decide whether more extensive examinations, like CT scans, might be warranted.

The FDA says that the test, or the Brain Trauma Indicator as it's called, is only approved for adults for now, but Banyan Biomarkers plans to conduct a clinical trial that will evaluate its effectiveness in children who have sustained a head injury. While the test will likely appeal to the sports world, and particularly those involved in football -- which has become infamous for head trauma that is suspected to be linked to life-threatening disorders like chronic traumatic encephalopathy -- it's also caught the eye of the US Department of Defense. Military officials have been interested in a way to effectively detect brain injuries in soldiers and the New York Times reports that the Pentagon funded a clinical trial that helped get the test approved.

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