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New blood test could lead to better brain trauma care

A new blood test has been developed that could help doctors quickly diagnose a traumatic brain injury, or TBI, in the emergency room. The test could lead to better treatments for TBI patients in New Mexico and nationwide.

According to the lead author of the study, which was published in the Journal of Neurotrauma on July 10, the test measures the level of a blood protein known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, in patients who have suffered TBI. By studying the levels of three different blood proteins in more than 300 TBI patients and then comparing them with 150 patients without TBI, researchers found that BDNF is better at predicting patient outcomes than other blood proteins.

TBIs can occur after a blow to the head or from whiplash, often from car crashes or sporting accidents. They may range from a mild concussion, which can cause a headache or blurred vision, to severe trauma, which can cause seizures, memory loss, confusion or even coma. Until now, doctors have depended on CT scans and patient symptoms to determine the presence and severity of TBI. However, CT scans only show brain bleeds, not damaged brain cells. The BDNF blood test allows doctors to identify TBI in patients with no brain bleeding and advise them on the best course of treatment, whether that be rest, a visit to a neurologist or participation in clinical trials for new TBI treatments.

New Mexico residents who have suffered brain damage due to the negligence of another party may wish to speak with an attorney about their legal options. It may be possible to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party seeking compensation for current and future medical expenses, pain and suffering and more.

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