Baylor College of Medicine researchers have collaborated with University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine to develop a groundbreaking, new blood test that will help doctors predict the severity of concussions, and if traumatic brain injuries will leave permanent damage to the brain. Considering that 15 to 30 percent of patients who suffer a concussion or other traumatic brain injury experience significant and persistent symptoms that sometimes lead to permanent brain damage and disability, the test could allow medical practitioners to take medical action early.
The BCM/Penn study, which was recently published in Frontiers in Neurology and reported on in Science Daily, is gaining a great deal of attention, given the rise of concussion awareness in U.S. sports. The study itself, according to a recent press release, “focused on a group of almost 40 individuals who ranged in age from 15 to 25. Before beginning the study, each victim was given a blood test. The test measured the level of a specific protein known as SNTF. These participants were given a series of cognitive tests.
After three months, participants who had a high level of the protein in the initial tests continued to do poorly on the cognitive tests. Radiological imaging confirmed that these patients were suffering from significant white matter damage.”
Concussions are now understood to have been under diagnosed for the vast majority of modern medicine. New estimates from the CDC reveal that over 1.7 million children and adults experience concussions in the United States every year, mostly due to athletics, car accidents, and other events raining in mild to serious severity. Often times, “bumps on the head” that are seemingly mild often lead to concussions that really should be addressed by a doctor and monitored.
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Assuming that the BCM/Penn study results are supported, this new blood test could radically changed the manner in which concussions are dealt with. From a treatment standpoint, it would give doctors more detailed information about treatment, prognosis, and course of action. For those who suffer concussions, it would give patients a clearer expectation of possible long-term effects, and could also legally allow victims hold those accountable for the injuries to empirically prove permanent damage and long-term effects.