September 16, 2015 – Concussion?


Anchor lead:  Could a protein tied to traumatic brain injury help manage concussion? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Concussions among athletes of all levels are much in the news, as they may be tied to long term cognition issues, depression and perhaps even suicide and dementia.  But how can severity be assessed?  A test developed by Frederick Korley, an emergency medicine expert at Johns Hopkins, and colleagues, looking at a blood protein called brain derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF, may help.

Korley: We did subgroup analyses to look at patients with mild, moderate versus severe.  The differences we found were even more pronounced in the so-called ‘mild’ traumatic brain injury patients. But the truth is, for the moderate or severe patients have abnormal CT scans anyway.  Our biggest interest group are the 85% of TBI patients who currently are called ‘mild TBI.’   :

Korley says lower BDNF levels were associated with longer term consequences of brain injury, and helped both patients and physicians understand prognosis better.  The test is used within 24 hours of brain injury.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.