New Study Finds How Severity Of Brain Injuries Can Be Detected In Minutes

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By NewsRadio 1020 KDKA

PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh Schools of Health Sciences have conducted a study that shows how a rapid blood test could detect and tell how severe a brain injury is in just minutes.

The study was recently published in the Journal of Neurotrauma.

Thanks to the study and its findings, UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh moved forward in developing a point-of-care testing devise designed to assess a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in mere minutes.

The vision is that the devise is hand-held and is able to test a patient’s blood on the spot, and determine the severity of a TBI.

“This would eliminate guesswork in diagnosing TBIs and learn whether a person needs further treatment,” David Okonkwo, M.D., Ph. D., one of the leaders behind the study said. “Whether you’re testing a soldier injured in combat or testing a patient in a small rural hospital with limited resources, health care providers could have critical information they need—in minutes—to treat each patient’s brain injury.”

The study began tests four years ago, enrolling 1,497 people who were seeking care at one of 18 trauma centers across the country.

“Knowing this protein can show the severity of a TBI through a simple blood test is promising when considering we can use a device that already is in widespread use in hospitals, doctors’ offices and urgent care facilities. All we would need to do is add an extra cartridge to the device to analyze blood for the GFAP protein,” Okonkwo said.

He predicts that this devise could decrease unnecessary CT scans by 20% or more, which could save nearly $100 million in medical expenses.

Read the full release from UPMC here.

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