September 14, 2015 – Traumatic Brain Injury


Anchor lead: Can a blood factor help determine the extent of brain injury?  Elizabeth Tracey reports.

Traumatic brain injuries, abbreviated TBIs, affect millions of people each year, resulting in many emergency department assessments.  Now a blood test developed by Frederick Korley, an emergency medicine expert at Johns Hopkins, and colleagues, may help pinpoint whose brain injuries will result in long term problems.  The test relies on a protein in the blood called brain derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF.

Korley: We enrolled patients from a number of different emergency departments who presented for traumatic brain injury who had bdnf values on the day of presentation.  We looked at their outcomes six months down the line, and we found that patients who had low bdnf values on the day of injury were most likely to have incomplete recovery even after six months down the line.   :26

Korley says CT scans identify damage to blood vessels in the brain, but not to neurons.  The new test may help assess neuronal damage.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.