Hopkins Study Finds Blood Test Can Gauge TBI Severity

August 3, 2015

Johns Hopkins researchers and others report discovering that a blood test can better gauge the severity of a patient’s traumatic brain injury than a standard CAT scan.

The researchers pinpointed a specific protein, brain-derived neurotrophic factor to gauge the severity of an injury and predict a patient’s recovery. Frederick Korley, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins, and collaborators measured three levels of proteins in 300 patients with TBI and 150 without and then monitored the TBI patients for six months.

Levels of BDNF, taken within 24 hours of someone’s head injury, could predict the severity of the TBI and how a patient would fare, they found. Patients with higher levels of BDNF fared better initially and had mostly recovered from their injuries six months later.

Korley and the other authors say the results suggest that an emergency room test for BDNF could help in the treatment of patients. — John Bechtel