Testing a Faster Way to Confirm Concussions

May 16, 2018

Trials are about to get under way for the first ever blood test that could confirm whether a person has had a concussion. Scientists at Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and the University of Virginia, are teaming up with a Virginia-based biotechnology company known as the Virginia Catalyst, to test it.

Sometimes a hit to the head is just a minor injury with no lasting effects.  But if it's a concussion, also known as a mild traumatic brain injury you might not even know you have one. And if it is a mild traumatic brain injury an, mTBI it could cause long term damage. Cognitive tests or a brain scan are the only way to know. But the new device takes a tiny sample of blood for a quick diagnosis. Michael Friedlander, executive director of the Virginia Tech Carillion Research Institute, is principal investigator the project.

"We're using a panel of tests to look at a variety of substances including a molecule that comes off of nerve cells in the brain when they're injured and to get a very fast readout from blood tests of somebody that might have a mild traumatic brain injury."

Credit NIH Image Gallery

Volunteers who have had head injuries are being recruited for the study. The new mTBI test could be used in hospitals and they're also developing a portable unit. mild traumatic brain Injuries are the number one killer of people under 45, and they can happen to anyone at any time.

The Virginia Catalyst and BRAINBox Solutions Inc., a molecular diagnostics company, have each given $500,000 toward the project.