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Diagnostic testing for concussions might be changing

Anyone who has ever suffered from a head injury likely knows that getting a firm diagnosis about brain damage is often difficult. In many cases, such as when the injury to the brain isn't severe, doctors can have a difficult time making an actual diagnosis. Your symptoms and the fact that you suffered a blow to the head are often considered. In some cases, the doctor might even order a CT scan. That CT scan can let the doctor see a serious issue, such as a brain bleed, but it is unlikely to reveal a minor to moderate brain injury.

There is a new blood test that has been tested in a study over a 3-year period that might change the way that concussions are diagnosed. This can be particularly helpful for patients that shouldn't be exposed to radiation and those who haven't yet begun to experience symptoms despite a blow to the head.

The blood test checks for the presence of glial fibrillary acidic protein, which is a biomarker that is only present in the bloodstream after a brain injury. This protein peaks at 20 hours after the injury but is still detectable in the blood seven days after the accident.

For patients who suffer from headaches, dizziness, vomiting, and other symptoms of a concussion, the inability to get a firm and accurate diagnosis might make it difficult to get the medications and treatments necessary to cope with the injury. This can often lead to time missed from work and considerable medical care costs. Those patients might opt to seek compensation in Pennsylvania if the accident was the fault of another party.

Source: News Ledge, "Concussion blood test edges closer to reality," Marcus Chavers, March 30, 2016

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