According to the Army, there now exists a simple blood test that can detect mild traumatic brain injury or concussion.
Army Col. Dallas Hack explains that the blood test looks for unique proteins that spill into the blood from damaged brain cells, and in testing has accurately diagnosed mild traumatic brain injury in 34 patients.
These types of injuries can be easy to miss since the damage typically doesn’t show up on imaging scans, and the symptoms are vague enough to be dismissed by the sufferer.
Hack is optimistic that this discovery could do for brain injury what the discovery of unique proteins identifying heart disease did for chest pain. The Brain Injury Association of America says that that if the Army gets FDA approval for the test, it could be a milestone in brain injury care.
And who knows, perhaps one day these simple blood tests might be incorporated into EMS protocols, to help first responders accurately assess concussed patients.