The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first ever drug to help doctors diagnose traumatic brain injuries. According to an article on Time.com, this essentially means that Banyan Biomarkers can commercialize its test, giving the company an early lead in the biotech industry’s race to find a way to diagnose concussions as soon as they occur. The test doesn’t quite detect concussions and the approval won’t change how patients with suspected concussions or other brain injuries are treated. However, brain injury experts are excited by this approval because it accelerates progress made in that direction.
How Does the Test Work?
The test basically detects two proteins present in brain cells that leak into the blood after a head injury. The test can detect the proteins in the blood within 12 hours of the injury. And this can help doctors quickly decide which patients with suspected concussions may have brain bleeding or other types of brain injuries.
Patients with a positive test would need a CT scan to confirm the results so doctors can decide if surgery or any other treatment is necessary. The blood test is expected to be used first in emergency rooms as early as the later this year. Banyan is hoping that the test will eventually be used on battlefield and football fields – both locations where people suffer the most head injuries.
Urgent Need for These Tests
Traumatic brain injuries affect millions worldwide and each year 2 million are treated in U.S. emergency rooms. While CT scans are most commonly used to detect bleeding or other anomalies in the brain, the scans expose patients to radiation. Moreover, brain injuries such as concussions may not show up on these scans. The new blood test, even if it doesn’t help confirm a concussion, shows that the absence of the two proteins is a good indication that the CT scans will be normal. So patients can avoid unnecessary radiation exposure. Several other companies such as Abbott, Quanterix and BioDirection are also developing similar tests.
Brain injuries often tend to be catastrophic injuries that could lead to lifelong disabilities. Patients need extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation. The cost of treating a traumatic brain injury could add up to millions of dollars over a patient’s lifetime. If you have suffered a brain injury as the result of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you may be able to seek compensation for your losses. Contact an experienced brain injury lawyer to examine your legal rights and options.