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New blood test for identifying traumatic brain injury

Many Colorado residents have experienced a traumatic brain injury, whether in an automobile collision or through participation in an athletic event. A recent study has shown that a specific blood test is beneficial for determining the effects of a TBI, which could aid in the patient's subsequent treatment. This was done by comparing the results of the blood tests of traumatically brain injured patients with their results from traditional measures, such as CT scans and MRIs. The study was published in a respected journal that features articles on clinical and laboratory advances related to traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries.

A group of researchers studied the blood levels of patients between the ages of 16 and 93 who had been brought into trauma centers. The substance in the blood being detected was glial fibrillary acidic protein breakdown products (GFAP-BDP). Previous studies implicated its presence in traumatic brain injuries.

Besides having good predictive value, GFAP-BDP blood levels can also give information about the severity of the head injury as well as reduce unnecessary scans. This is beneficial to the patient because it speeds the clinical course and reduces unnecessary medical costs. The researchers found that there was a net benefit of the blood tests for GFAP-BDP over imaging-based screening, as well as a 12 to 30 percent lower number of unnecessary scans.

If someone who has suffered a brain trauma has his or her condition worsened through a failure by a health care professional to properly detect or treat it, a medical malpractice lawsuit may be an appropriate remedy. Through an examination of the patient's records as well as consultation with experts in the field, an attorney can determine whether the failure to properly diagnose the condition amounted to medical negligence.

Source: Health Canal, "Blood Test to Detect Traumatic Brain Injury Could Reduce Unnecessary CT Scans", Health Canal, May 18, 2015

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