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Research indicates protein in blood could reveal brain injuries

Researchers say that a blood test could make emergency room physicians in New Jersey and around the country better equipped to identify potentially serious brain injuries. Doctors currently rely on CT scans of accident victim’s brains to diagnose traumatic brain injuries, but these scans are not able to detect damaged brain cells when there is no accompanying bleeding. This can lead to patients with severe brain injuries being sent home.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Neurotrauma on July 10, tackled the problem by studying three proteins thought to be associated with brain function. Blood samples were taken from 300 patients who had suffered traumatic brain injuries and 150 patients who had no brain injury over a period of six months. The results indicated that a protein referred to as brain-derived neurotrophic factor could indicate the presence of a serious brain injury that would be missed by a CT scan.

The researchers noticed that the levels of BDNF in the blood of those who had suffered a brain injury were far lower than the levels observed in the control group. The researchers also found that brain injury victims with higher levels of BDNF recovered faster than those with lower levels of the protein. Consuming Omega 3 fatty acids and exercising are known to increase levels of BDNF in the blood, but researchers say that more work is needed to determine if these activities could help those who have suffered a brain injury.

Serious brain injuries are often debilitating, and the symptoms can sometimes last for a lifetime. When these injuries are caused by the reckless actions of others, a personal injury attorney could help a victim file a lawsuit against the negligent party.

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