Public awareness and scientific research regarding traumatic brain injuries
have increased significantly in recent years. Although most of us think
of brain injuries in a sports context (the NFL concussion lawsuits for
instance), brain injuries are also deeply affecting American military
personnel and veterans.
According to the Department of Defense, more than 300,000 servicemembers
have been diagnosed with a
traumatic brain injurysince the year 2000. And there may be many more cases which have not been
diagnosed. Because this is such a pervasive issue, the federal government
is devoting significant financial resources to improving diagnostic capabilities
and treatment options.
As just one example, it was recently announced that Chicago-based Abbott
Laboratories has been awarded a $19.5 million contract from the Defense
Department. Over the next two years, the company will be working to develop
portable blood tests that can quickly and accurately diagnose brain injuries
“in the field.”
Research has shown that brain injuries like concussions could be diagnosed
with a blood test because these injuries release proteins/biomarkers into
the victim’s bloodstream. Commenting on the Abbott initiative, one
military physician noted that “the quick and accurate diagnosis
of a concussion is critical so that soldiers who are affected can be removed
from duty to recover and to prevent further injury.”
This is exciting news for our men and women in uniform, but the advancements
will no doubt benefit civilians as well. Imagine that your son or daughter
suffers an injury during a sporting event. Was it a concussion? Should
you believe your child if they say they feel fine? Should you take them
to the hospital? A quick and accurate blood test like the one being developed
could eliminate the guesswork.
We are in the midst of an exciting time, when research into traumatic brain
injuries is advancing at a nearly unprecedented rate. But as our knowledge
increases, we become more and more aware of just how dangerous and destructive
head injuries can be. That’s why, if you or a loved one has suffered
a brain injury as the result of another person’s negligence, you
may wish to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney who can help
you understand your rights and options.
Source: Chicago Tribune, "
Abbott wins $19.5 million contract to develop brain injury test," Peter Frost, Aug. 18, 2014