New Blood Test for Concussions Approved


Suzanne Coleman, MD

A new blood test for head injuries has been approved by the FDA, according to Medscape.  This test is called the Brain Trauma Indicator and was developed by Banyan Biomarkers, Inc..  This test can fairly reliably tell if a person has had a concussive brain injury, or not.  This test was developed to help patients avoid unnecessary radiation and testing when they incur a head injury.

If the blood test is positive, the company who developed the test says that their research has shown that there is a 97.5% chance that brain damage has occurred.  If the test is negative, they say that there is a 99.6% chance of no brain damage having occurred.  This negative test, they say, can help patients avoid having a CT scan of the head.

But will it?  The article says that the test will predict the presence or absence of “intracranial lesions.” They do not specifically mention if this means that they can reliably exclude serious issues such as an epidural and subdural hematomas which can occur with head injury both in the presence and absence of concussion.  In order to exclude these, medical doctors may still feel compelled, both ethically and legally, to order a CT scan.  Neither the company’s press release on their website nor the information contained at the link to their research addresses this question.

In addition to identifying and excluding patients with concussions, this test may be useful to monitor the progression and resolution of brain injuries.  There may also be potential to link this research to other neurological conditions that effect the brain, providing for new ways to diagnose and monitor treatment.









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