New Biomarkers Can Detect Concussions, Even Mild Ones, Through Simple Blood Test
UCLA researchers have identified four biomarkers that could help doctors diagnose brain trauma and concussions through a simple blood test. The biomarkers are proteins, from brain cells called astrocytes, which are released instantly into the bloodstream when astrocytes’ outer membranes rupture from blunt impact or whiplash trauma.
Mild traumatic brain injuries, also called concussions, often go undiagnosed, but they can lead to lasting neurological impairment, especially after repeated occurrences.
Currently, doctors use CT scans or a standard scoring system to describe the level of consciousness in a person who has suffered a blow to the head. But research has shown that neither approach correlates well with recovery or disability, and both approaches may not help identify milder brain injuries, like concussions. As a result, people with the types of mild head injuries that are often seen among athletes and military personnel frequently don’t take the proper steps for recovery.
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