As we discussed in our last post, some brain injuries can be difficult to detect, and therefore difficult to diagnose. When someone suffers a mild traumatic brain injury, the damage done to the brain may not be noticeable on commonly used brain imaging tests, such as CT scans.
Consequently, people with mild TBIs often go undiagnosed and do not receive the medical treatment needed to recover from their injury. In addition, a lack of diagnosis can contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression, as they suffer from unexplained symptoms that disrupt their daily life.
In an effort to find a more concrete method of diagnosing traumatic brain injuries, a study was conducted to determine if a blood test could diagnose a TBI. The researchers took blood samples from people who were suffering from symptoms associated with TBIs within 24 hours of the time of the injury. They measured the so-called brain derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, in the blood samples of each patient.
The researchers concluded that individuals who had suffered TBIs had lower BDNF values in their blood than those who had not suffered such injuries.
If the test becomes commonplace, the researchers believe it could help doctors shorten the time needed to make a traumatic brain injury diagnosis. The earlier a TBI is diagnosed, the faster an appropriate treatment regimen can be established.
When someone suffers a traumatic brain injury, the road to recovery can be long and difficult. Getting an accurate diagnosis should not have to be part of that challenge.