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New Test To Detect Brain Injury Being Developed

The Wall Street Journal has reported on a major effort soon to be undertaken by the U.S. Department of Defense for the investigation of brain injury bio markers.  The bio markers may be able to detect the presence of brain injury through the use of a blood test.

Recognizing that brain injury may be subtle and difficult to detect, The Journal article states that “One of the most frustrating aspects of brain injuries is that they can be difficult to diagnose; emergency rooms can sometimes miss subtle symptoms, leading to improper treatment and potentially catastrophic consequences.”

The article continues, “Doctors frequently fail to diagnose brain injury in patients who've suffered head trauma but remain conscious. Physicians also sometimes can't reliably determine whether a patient in a stupor has a brain injury, a stroke, or something else entirely. As a result, doctors may incorrectly prescribe treatment, or prescribe no treatment where it's actually necessary.”

$17 million of funding is expected to be provided for a major study of brain-injury biomarkers in more than 1,000 human patients at 20 hospitals in the U.S. and overseas. The study is expected to start next year and take 18 months.  It will explore whether biomarkers can reliably assess the extent of brain injury and help doctors decide on treatment.

This ground breaking work is being performed at Banyan Biomarkers Inc., a new company formed by faculty members of the University of Florida.

Banyan hopes to win approval from the Food and Drug Administration for a blood test, if the planned clinical study being funded by the Defense Department proves successful.

A peer-reviewed study of 66 patients led by Banyan scientists and published this year in the journal Critical Care Medicine showed that patients with the most severe brain injury had levels of a biomarker called UCH-L1 that were 16 times the level found in patients without brain injury.

Banyan scientists this year also published conclusions in the European Journal of Neuroscience that the same chemical, UCH-L1, was sharply elevated in rats with injuries designed to mimic both brain injury and stroke.

Read the full story in the Wall Street Journal: A New Test For Brain Injury on the Horizon.

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