An estimated 2.8 million emergency room visits a year are the result of traumatic brain injury, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Most of these head trauma patients receive physical examinations and computed tomography (CT) scans, which expose them to radiation.
In the future, however, patients may instead receive a blood test recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that will help physicians assess head injuries.
Concussion symptoms include problems with balance and sensitivity to light and sound. They may occur immediately after the injury or as long as hours or days later — which poses a challenge to diagnosis.
Symptoms also vary from person to person. Some experience sensitivity to noise, others lose their balance, and still others become sensitive to bright light.
The new test measures post-injury blood levels of proteins that assist in predicting which patients’ brain injuries might be visible on CT scans.
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