New technology approved by the FDA recently could change the way doctors test for concussions.
This breakthrough is exciting for those medical professionals who deal with these types of injuries every day.
At Springfield College, athletic trainers deal with concussions on a regular basis, but when the news of a blood test to determine severity for these injuries approved by the FDA, they are excited for the possibility of progress
Right now, when someone is suspected of suffering from a concussion, the only concrete test is a CT scan. That involves high amounts of radiation.
A concussion or a traumatic brain injury is caused by a number of things, including:
Mild concussions don’t show up on a CT scan, only severe injuries that involve bleeding in the brain.
Springfield College Athletic Trainer Wayne Rodrigues told Western Mass News that diagnosing concussions can be tough.
"With mild traumatic brain injuries like concussions, there isn’t always bleeding that occurs and as a result of that, there is typically a lot of excessive radiation and the test is very expensive," Rodrigues said.
This month, the FDA approved a blood test that could determine if there is bleeding in the brain within 12 hours of the injury. It measures proteins in the blood that are released when bleeding in the brain happens.
"What the test will do is determine if there is enough of those proteins to warrant an actual CT scan which would indicate inter-cranial bleed," Rodrigues added.
So why does this matter?
The ability to predict if patients have a low chance of brain bleeding can help doctors decide if a CT scan is necessary.
No bleed, no need for a CT scan. This would save hundreds of thousands of dollars, as well as protecting people from harmful radiation.
"It's expensive for the patient, it's expensive for the insurance company, so we are saving lots of dollars and also we're minimizing the amount of radiation that we are exposing the individuals to," Rodrigues noted.
This blood test is only approved for adults right now and there is still no concrete test to determine if someone has a mild concussion.
However, Rodrigues is hopeful that there will be more testing like this and this difficult injury will have more solutions in the future.
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