Can concussion be tested for with a blood test?
“A new blood test can detect a concussion up to a week after a head injury,” the Daily Mail reports. The test involved checking for biomarkers, which are substances created by a specific biological condition or state.
In this case researchers looked at two biomarkers:
- proteins called glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)
- ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase L1 (UCH-L1)
These proteins are known to be associated with mild to moderate traumatic brain injury. These types of injury can result in concussion, which is short-lived loss of mental function. The study included more than 500 people with suspected brain injury. Researchers found both proteins were sometimes present in the blood.
However, the two biomarkers were not always detectable in people with a brain injury. One in five people assessed by researchers did not have GFAP and 1 in 10 did not have UCH-L1. As the tests were not able to correctly identify all people with and without a brain injury, these two biomarkers would not meet the requirements for a stand-alone diagnostic test.
Concussion ideally needs to be diagnosed by a health professional trained in assessing patients with head injury. You should visit your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department if you or someone in your care has a head injury.
Keyword: blood test concussion; concussion blood test