Mon 14 Nov 2016
US researchers have recently published a study which examined 600 people who had suffered trauma.
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Of these 55% had also suffered mild to moderate traumatic brain injury. In this study they measured the levels of two brain-specific proteins in blood. These were glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase (UCH-L1) which are found in different types of brain cells.
The researchers found that GFAP was a more accurate indicator of diagnostic accuracy and was able to predict brain injury severity up to seven days after impact. However the other marker UCH-L1 rose more rapidly after brain injury which might make it useful in very short term of the first few hours after the injury. GFAP levels peaked in blood twenty hours after the injury and overall was the better indicator of significant brain trauma.
Current diagnosis of concussion relies on self-reporting of symptoms and thus may not be reliable and people can suffer quite significant brain trauma and still show now signs on brain imaging such as a CT scan.
The researchers say that the test is under development and may be available as a point-of-care and a lab test within two years.
Journal of Neurology abstract