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Blood Tests May Be Able to Spot Early Signs of Brain Injuries

CT scans can be costly and take a while to perform and analyze, which is not good when a patient might have a brain injury. In order to speed up the diagnostic process — and save patients, doctors, and insurance companies on treatment costs — a new scientific breakthrough in blood testing could hold the key.

Researchers have been able to positively identify two unique blood biomarkers in people who suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI). After sustaining a brain injury, a person’s body will produce more C-terminal hydrolase-L1 (UCH-L1) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). Thanks to a newly-refined blood testing method, medical providers can draw blood, perform a relatively-quick analysis, and look for one or both of the telltale proteins in the patient’s blood.

To understand the applications of the blood test, almost 2,000 patients who came to emergency rooms after possibly suffering a TBI were given both the blood test and a CT scan. All patients in the study had these tests conducted within the first 12 hours after their accident that may have caused a head injury. Comparing the CT scan results to the blood test results, the researchers were able to determine the test’s accuracy.

The results were more than promising. More than 96% of the blood tests were able to reliably predict when a patient did not suffer a TBI. 33% of the tests were so clearly conclusive, researchers and medical providers were confident a CT scan could have been forgone entirely. However, until the blood test is refined even further and more studies are done, medical providers are encouraged to use it in conjunction with CT scans. As it is often said, it is better to be safe than sorry.

(You can learn more about this incredible blood test and its potential applications by clicking here and reading a full article from Forbes. Login information or a subscription may be required.)

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