Injuries suffered to the brain are among some of the most common, complex and difficult of all to accurately diagnose. While at times signs that a traumatic brain injury has occurred are obvious, often symptoms associated with concussions are less pronounced and may not be readily apparent until days after an injury occurs.

Currently, if it’s suspected that an individual suffered a TBI, a doctor must rely upon the individual’s ability to articulate symptoms as well as the results of a CT scan which can be used to “detect bleeding in the brain.” The problem is that many people don’t’ initially notice any symptoms and many TBIs don’t cause bleeding in the brain. Consequently, an individual who suffers a TBI may be sent on his or her way only to experience problems later.

While there is no cure or treatment for most TBIs, prompt diagnosis is important to ensure that an individual rests and refrains from engaging in sports or other physical activities. A TBI diagnosis is also important as failure to rest could result in an individual suffering subsequent TBIs which can lead to even more serious brain damage and devastating health effects.

New research suggests that doctors may soon be able to use a simple blood test to not only determine whether or not an individual has suffered a TBI, but also to predict the severity of damage suffered and future prognosis.

Doctors as Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine evaluated some 450 patients, roughly 300 of whom had suffered TBIs. When evaluating the levels of three separate blood proteins, doctors discovered that levels of one specific blood protein appear to be directly tied to the severity of a TBI.

Doctors are hopeful that the findings of this study will not only improve the accuracy with which they are able to diagnose TBIs, but that this new discovery will also be useful in developing new and more effective TBI treatments.

Source: Psych Central, “New Blood Test May Detect Traumatic Brain Injury,” Traci Pedersen, Aug. 2, 2015