This week, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first blood test to evaluate concussion, also called mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), in adults.
Most people suspected of having a concussion are evaluated using a neurological exam called the 15-point Glasgow Coma Scale and a computed tomography (CT) scan of the head. According to the FDA, this new blood test could help doctors determine the need for CT scans in these patients and help prevent unnecessary imaging tests and radiation exposure.
Called the Brain Trauma Indicator, the test measures levels of certain proteins – UCH-L1 and GFAP – released by the brain after a head injury. These levels can help determine which patients are more likely to have intracranial lesions that are visible on CT scan. Results are available within 3 or 4 hours.