The test looks for elevated levels of two proteins after brain injury
There are about 2.8 million concussion-related hospital visits every year
The US Food and Drug Administration has, for the first time, approved a blood test to help detect concussion in adults.
The Brain Trauma Indicator test measures two biomarkers: proteins known as UCH-L1 and GFAP that are released upon injury to the brain and pass through the blood-brain barrier. Elevated levels of the proteins can be detected within 15 or 20 minutes of injury. The test can be taken within 12 hours of injury, and results can be obtained within three or four hours.
Patients are currently diagnosed with concussion based on a combination of symptoms as well as imaging. However, CT scans don’t always detect concussion.
“Over 90% of CT scans (for concussion) are negative. And you get 200 times the radiation of a chest X-ray. It’s expensive; it’s not terrific,” said Hank Nordhoff, chairman and CEO of Banyan Biomarkers, maker of the new test. It can help determine whether a patient further needs a CT scan, based on a physician’s concerns.