Portable brain-injury blood test in development for U.S. Military

Portable brain-injury blood test in development for U.S. Military

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 service members have been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury since 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

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