Dr. Linda Papa, of Orlando Regional Medical Center, has been performing research to determine if it is possible to create a blood test for concussions. Her research has shown that individuals who sustain a concussion, a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury or MTBI, end up having higher levels of certain proteins in their blood than those who have sustained no injury at all or those who have sustained an injury such as a broken bone. The more severe the brain injury, the greater number of these proteins are found in the blood.
1.7 million people suffer a Traumatic Brain Injury in the U.S. annually, with 1.4 million of them treated in emergency rooms across the U.S. Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries are often not detectable by traditional tests such as CAT Scans or MRIs. This leads to a dangerous situation in which an individual recently experienced a concussion, but the individual is told by medical professionals that he or she is fine. If the individual suffers a second head injury before recovering from the first, the result can be fatal. A simple blood test with a positive result of concussion would help prevent second impact syndrome by putting the patient on notice that he or she should not return to physical activities until fully recovered from the first head injury.
More research needs to be done on this issue, but Dr. Papa believes that a blood test for concussions could be available in the next five years.
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