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Study backs blood test that gauges seriousness of concussions

It was the key to the FDA's approval of the test.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
July 25, 2018
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Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images

Remember how the FDA approved a blood test that could determine the severity of a concussion? It's now clear just why the FDA gave its approval. The Lancet Neurology has published the study at the heart of the decision, giving you a chance to verify the claims for yourself (if you're willing to pay, at least). As before, Banyan Biomarkers' test checks for the presence of two brain proteins (GFAP and UCH-L1) whose levels rise when there are signs of internal trauma. The FDA's claims check out -- out of 1,959 eligible test subjects, just three had CT scans turn up results when the blood tests were negative.

So long as the test performs similarly well in the real world, it could have a significant impact on medicine. Until now, the decision to perform a CT scan has usually relied on external symptom checks, such as reports of headaches or nausea. This could limit scans to people who genuinely need further medical attention rather than people who may only have mild problems. Tech might not offer a real solution to concussions in sport, but it could save time and money when those injuries occur.

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