Fast Facts: – Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) affect millions of Americans every year after car accidents, sporting collisions, assaults, falls and other incidents. They can cause symptoms ranging from headache, dizziness, memory problems and difficulty paying attention to seizures and coma.

  • A CT scan can reveal whether a head injury has caused bleeding in the brain, but not whether brain cells themselves have been injured — the primary cause of many TBI symptoms.
  • Researchers have discovered that a blood test measuring levels of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) can gauge the severity of a patient’s TBI and predict how well he or she will recover, helping pinpoint which patients need further specialized treatment.

A new blood test could help emergency room doctors quickly diagnose traumatic brain injury and determine its severity. The findings, published July 10 in the Journal of Neurotrauma, could help identify patients who might benefit from extra therapy or experimental treatments.

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