Shocks and other brain injuries affect millions of people annually. Unfortunately, doctors are not always able to diagnose this condition, because they have to rely on subjective assessments of patients themselves. The situation will be corrected by a new blood test, which effectively detects brain injuries without CT scan.
The first signs of brain injuries are headache, nausea and sensitivity to light. Based on these subjective signs, doctors send the patient for a CT scan to confirm the diagnosis. However, such subjective assessment is not always reliable. For example, athletes may hide their symptoms in order to continue to perform despite injury. If a patient develops one or more of the above symptoms after the trauma, you should call an ambulance team. It is not necessary to go to the polyclinic or hospital by yourself, because after the concussion, it is better for the patient to be in lying position before the qualified medical care. Before the arrival of ambulance the patient should lie on his side to prevent vomiting in case of loss of consciousness. To reduce swelling of the brain, ice should be applied to the head. Clothes should be unbuttoned to facilitate breathing. The patient should not be left alone, as it is possible psychomotor excitement, which is replaced by loss of consciousness and fall.
Full examination in case of concussion, conducted in the hospital, will allow to notice and prevent the development of dangerous conditions, which may be the result of concussion. As a result of the concussion it is possible that brain substance may die in the center, inner ear may be damaged, hemorrhage to the organs of vision, blood may enter the envelope and brain substance, fracture of skull bones, cervical vertebrae and facial bones.
Various diagnostic methods are widely used to detect concussion complications. The purpose of computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging is to detect cerebral edema, hemorrhages, traumatic changes in brain matter, damage to the bones of the cranial roof and face. X-ray examination of the cervical spine, which is carried out with a head tilt forward and backward, helps to assess the motor function of the vertebrae after the injury and timely detect sprains, subluxations and fractures. Information about the abnormal conduction of impulses to the different parts of the brain responsible for vision, hearing, touch and motor function can be obtained by using evoked potentials of the brain.
A new blood test can solve the problem of long-term diagnosis, says Medical Xpress.
It aims to find two UCH-L1 and GFAP proteins that appear in the bloodstream after concussion and other brain injuries.
If the test result is negative – no proteins are found in the blood – the probability of injury is very low. No additional tests are required in this case. And if the result is positive, the patient should be poisoned for a CT scan for further examination.
The test is effective within 12 hours after the alleged injury. Its accuracy was proved by clinical trials, in which more than 2000 people from 22 emergency departments in the U.S. took part. The researchers note the high specificity of the method: in case of injury to the abdomen or shoulder there is no false alarm.
According to the developers, the new blood test will make the diagnosis of brain injury better and allow less frequent computerized tomography.
This will reduce the radiation load on patients, the time they spend in the hospital and the cost of health care.
Banyan Biomarkers, which has developed the test, is actively working to make it available to doctors and patients as soon as possible. In February, the method was already approved by the regulator for a simplified procedure that allows for faster implementation of medical innovations. The FDA recognized the effectiveness of the method for patients over the age of 18.
With new discoveries and modern technology, blood testing is becoming an increasingly sophisticated diagnostic method. Unlike other procedures, it is low invasive and does not take much time. Researchers have already proven the effectiveness of “liquid biopsy” for many diseases, from cancer to autism and chronic fatigue syndrome.