Breakthrough: Blood Test Identifies Brain Injury

Washington Report

(February 27, 2018) A mild traumatic brain injury can be diagnosed by a blood test, the Army Medical Materiel Development Activity has announced. The procedure has approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and should be in use in the field in the next year to 18 months, according to Military Times.

“For the first time, medical personnel won’t have to rely on a description of the incident and symptoms, but will have access to an objective marker of injury to the brain, all from a simple blood test,” said Lt. Col. Kara Schmid, the project manager for the directorate’s Neurotrauma and Psychological Health Project Management Office at Fort Detrick, Maryland. “This test holds promise to change the practice of medicine for brain injury.”

Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, has been a common wound in the war on terrorism with more than 375,000 cases diagnosed since 2000, most of them considered mild TBI, the publication reported. The Defense Department has searched for a diagnostic test for years and may finally have one.

The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command worked with Banyan Biomarkers, Inc. to develop the technology.

The test identifies two protein markers found only in the brain and released into the blood system after an injury. By measuring these proteins, an evaluation can be made as to the severity of the injury and further treatment needs.

“When we started this development effort, many people were skeptical that you could find brain proteins in the blood after a head injury, especially in those classified as mild TBI,” Schmid told the publication. “This test will open the doors to what blood-based biomarkers can do for the evaluation of TBI.”