Until recently, Pennsylvania physicians have relied on magnetic resonance imaging and computerized tomography scans in order to determine the severity of brain trauma. The traditional images only supply a part of the picture when cerebral injury occurs, though, as they are effective in detecting intracranial bleeding but have no way of pinpointing cellular damage. However, medical researchers have developed a diagnostic blood test that isolates a specific protein in the brain that can help provide information about the extent of a person’s injury.
After studying three different types of proteins that are involved in cerebral activity, one variety, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, was found to decrease after traumatic brain injury. When compared with a control group, the levels of BDNF in patients who sustained moderate trauma were less than 30 percent of normal findings. In cases of severe damage, amounts of the protein were close to 10 percent of typical readings.
Each year, thousands of people present in urgent care facilities and hospital emergency rooms with head injuries resulting from auto collisions, accidents during sports and falls. The prognosis for many patients is difficult to determine and is often addressed with a “wait and see” approach. The innovative test may not only give doctors a reliable method of predicting recovery but could be a useful tool in monitoring progress and testing the efficacy of treatments.
People who have suffered a traumatic brain injury in an accident that was caused by the negligence of another party may be able to seek compensation for their losses. A personal injury lawyer may be able to reach a settlement through negotiations or pursue damaged through the filing of a lawsuit against the responsible party.