Blood Tests Improve Diagnosis of Traumatic Brain Injury Effects

Inflammatory Biomarkers May Refine TBI, Aiding in Detection and Treatment

Identified: 3 inflammatory biomarkers that may be useful in assessing the likelihood of secondary effects from traumatic brain injury, according to new research from the University of Birmingham in the UK. Lisa Hill, PhD, with the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing at the University of Birmingham, commented, “Early and correct diagnosis of traumatic brain injury is one of the most challenging aspects facing clinicians. Being able to detect compounds in the blood which help to determine how severe a brain injury is would be of great benefit to patients and aid in their treatment.” The study examined blood samples collected from 30 patients within the first hour of head injury prior to hospital admission. Additional samples were taken at 4-, 12-, and 72-hour intervals and screened for inflammatory biomarkers, and compared to a control group of uninjured volunteers. The team identified 3 inflammatory biomarkers, CST5, AXIN1, and TRAIL as early biomarkers of TBI. The findings were published online yesterday in the journal Scientific Reports.

Presently available indictors of TBI prognosis, including the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), pupil reactivity, and head computed tomography (CT) have proven useful for patient stratification, but are of limited value in predicting the onset of secondary injury events. The authors note that “This is particularly true for patients with mild TBI (mTBI) which represents approximately 80% of all TBI cases and, where postconcussive symptoms including headaches, sleep disturbances, nausea, impaired attention, and memory problems may develop but not be mentioned due to limited patient follow up.” Additional study of the 3 biomarkers identified in the research could enable better early stage interventions to reduce secondary brain injury, the authors contend.

Read a news story about the findings.

The journal article may be read here.

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