A new blood test has been developed to tell doctors whether someone has had a concussion up to a week after the injury. Head trauma symptoms can often be subtle, and even delayed, especially in children. Treatment in the form of rest is important in helping to heal the brain after injury.
The blood test, developed by physicians at Orlando Health system in Florida, detects a biomarker called glial fibrillary acidic protein or GFAP. GAFP is unique to the brain and nervous system and is released after a concussion.
Researchers analyzing the blood of 600 patients found the biomarker was present in those who had sustained a head injury.
Concussion, without rest for a few days, can lead to long-term bouts of dizziness, headaches and insomnia. Memory loss, cognitive difficulties and even anxiety have also been reported in concussion patients who try to resume normal activities, like school or work, too soon.
Concussion is a common injury in contact sports, and a blood test soon after a head injury could help doctors detect the condition that might otherwise go undiagnosed.
A study describing the blood test is published in the journal JAMA Neurology.