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Blood Protein Discovery Might Predict Traumatic Brain Injury Recovery

New Study Shows Promise in Predicting Improvements After a Traumatic Brain Injury

Exciting news about predicting a recovery in advance from a traumatic brain injury may be on the horizon. This news could potentially help those who suffered a TBI from a fall, car accident, sports injury, and for other reasons. Scientists have discovered that a blood protein in the brain that exhibits high levels can indicate damage and shrinkage to the axons that send messages. The scientists predict that those who have suffered a TBI and exhibit elevated levels of this protein may be able to indicate whether an injured person is more likely to recover. 

Protein That Sends Messages to the Brain Cells Shows Promise

The neurofilament light chain, referred to as NfL, structurally supports the brain’s axons, which are like tendrils such as a human hair but smaller, and transport electrical impulses. These NfL levels peak at an average of 20 times their normal levels about 20 days after someone has suffered a TBI and remain at levels above normal for a year, as reported by researchers in an article published in Science Translational Medicine. Those who exhibit a higher peak in NfL blood concentrations following an injury have a more difficult time recovering from their trauma six months to a year later. The study performed to examine this included 1,987 patients in Europe who were being treated for TBIs categorized as moderate to severe at trauma centers.

New Blood Test for Traumatic Brain Injuries Can Help With Diagnosis

The researchers in the study received an opportunity to see if the blood biomarker offered clues about brain injury. Of the participants in the study, 18 required brain surgery, and the researchers were able to sample the fluid that surrounded the injured neurons. That fluid was then correlated with the blood’s NfL concentrations. 

Although Promising, More Studies Are Needed 

According to Neil Graham, a neurologist at Imperial College London, the study showed that this new, extremely sensitive blood test could accurately diagnose brain injuries and that it could predict which patients would recover well to differentiate from those who would have more problems. Because most of the study subjects were adult males, Graham pointed out that more studies would have to be conducted to see if their findings applied to those with mild TBIs as well as women and children. 

Biomarkers Can Help Develop Interventions in Traumatic Brain Injuries

Locating a biomarker that could predict the severity and provide a prognosis for traumatic brain injuries might improve many lives, including for sports players, those who were injured in a car or bicycle accident and others. It is currently estimated that around 55 million people around the world are dealing with TBIs.

According to David Okonkwo, the Neurotrauma Clinical Trials Center director at the University of Pittsburgh, scientists have been searching for these biomarkers in order to develop interventions that are injury-specific. He said that while this new potential tool may not be in use in clinics in the United States for a few years, research groups are trying to discover ways biomarkers can be used to diagnose TBIs and employ them to help their patients.

San Francisco Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a San Francisco traumatic brain injury lawyer. Suffering a TBI in an accident can result in high medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. If a negligent driver or other entity was the cause, you may be able to recover compensation to pay for those losses. For free and friendly advice on whether you can file a claim, contact us at (415) 805-7284 or (800) 404-5400. You can also contact us online if you prefer. We will review your case, tell you what options there are to recover damages, and answer your questions.

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Since 1982, my team of injury lawyers and I have helped many Northern Californians obtain the compensation they deserve for traumatic brain injuries, all varieties of traffic accidents, wrongful deaths, and other claims.

Photo attribution: Photo by Fakurian Design on Unsplash

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