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Could Blood Test Help Stem Traumatic Brain Injuries?

Traumatic brain injuries have come under increasing scrutiny in recent years. While the devastating effects of such trauma have been known for some time, the variety of things that can cause such damage have proven to be more elusive.

Brain injuries are often the result of some sudden catastrophic accident. When they happen, lives of victims and their families can be altered forever and seeking compensation through legal means may be called for. But studies done in more recent years have revealed that trauma can also result from repeated hits to the head suffered in the course of what has been considered the normal course of athletic activities.

Wouldn’t it be great if a simple blood test could reveal if a person was susceptible to head trauma so that they could decide to avoid hard-hitting sports? It may not be as far-fetched as it sounds.

According to a report in The Washington Post, scientists have learned that genetic makeup may make some people more prone to concussions than others. Further, genetic predisposition may be a bigger factor in predicting how severe a person’s head trauma is likely to be. The report says that the aim is to eventually have a blood test to flag for the genetic markers.

Researchers quoted in the story note that a blood test that might predict the chances of long-term brain injury is far in the future. But they suggest it might be possible soon to develop something to spot biomarkers for concussions or highlight proteins produced when the brain is injured. And they say that would be a solid step up from current practices that tend to rely on a subjective assessment of symptoms made by coaches and trainers.

Source: The Washington Post, “Finding a link between genes and brain injury: Are some people predisposed to trauma?” Eric Niiler, May 5, 2014