Every year, as many as 300,000 Americans with traumatic brain injuries go undiagnosed, often because they brush off their symptoms or because nothing unusual appears on CT scans of their brains. Without a diagnosis, people risk getting another concussion on top of the one they already have, increasing the chance of complications such as coma and death. But a new blood test could spot a brain injury within a few hours, enabling people to take time off to recover properly.
After an injury, proteins usually found in the brain can leak into the blood. The test, from Banyan Biomarkers in Florida, detects two such proteins: UCH-L1 and GFAP, which correlate with the severity of the trauma. The company plans to begin a 1,650-person trial later this year.