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Blood test shows promising results in detecting brain injuries

If you’ve ever suffered a brain injury -- whether it was a result of a sudden blow during a sporting event or because of a serious car accident -- you’re like most people in the sense that afterwards, you were probably left wondering whether the seriousness of your injury would affect you down the road. As with any concussion, it’s often difficult to determine whether a person will suffer any long-term effects from the injury. And while researchers believe that there is a link between some degenerative brain diseases and multiple concussions, this does not give answers to those who may not fall into this category.

But researchers have good news for people here in New York and across the nation this month. After conducting a study containing a small group of people who had suffered a head trauma, researchers writing for the journal Frontiers in Neurology reported that they were able to determine if a person suffering from a brain injury was likely to have lasting effects.

How were they able to do this?

The researchers knew that a particular protein called SNTF is generally released from neurons that are degenerating. By looking for this biomarker in blood samples drawn from both healthy and concussed participants, researchers were able to detect if a person had suffered a serious brain injury. While the technique will need to be tested in a larger sample of people, the results so far are promising.

This new testing technique will be incredibly helpful to accident victims who suffer serious brain injuries but do not exhibit symptoms until months or even years later. Oftentimes, this can leave them wondering what to do next or if it’s too late to receive compensation for their injuries. By testing for a brain injury early, accident victims will be able to see whether the injury is causing them any permanent harm, giving them the early chance to seek compensation and receive early treatment as well.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Could a blood test detect concussion with lasting disability?" Melissa Healy, Nov. 20, 2013

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