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Posted on 02-18-2018

FDA Approves Blood Test To Measure Presence of Concussions

As my avid blog readers are already aware, I am a Baltimore Chiropractor with three Baltimore chiropractic clinics in and around Baltimore, MD. We routinely treat patients with acute and chronic headaches, neck pain, and back pain. Many of our patients have suffered whiplash injuries as a result of Baltimore auto accident injuries. In these patients we routinely treat whiplash injuries such as acute post-traumatic headaches, cervical sprain/strain injuries, thoracic spine sprain/strain injuries, and lumbosacral spine sprain/strain injuries. On occasion we treat patients who have experienced concussions as well. While there is not much that we personally do for these patients with concussions, we nevertheless have a duty to record these symptoms and make appropriate referrals to neurologists whenever indicated.

Concussions are nothing more than damage to the soft tissue of the brain. These injuries occur with or without direct head trauma and they can produce a myriad of symptoms in the afflicted individual. The tricky part about concussions is that generally speaking, no two patients experience the same symptoms, and furthermore, no two patients experience the same onset and duration of symptoms. Just like snowflakes, no two concussions ever seem to be the same.

One of the issues that my clinics run into a lot when treating Baltimore auto accident patients is the idea of causality. In a nutshell, we need to be able to say that to a reasonable degree of medical probability the symptoms that a patient is presenting with to our clinic are present due to an automobile accident. Without being able to say that, insurance companies often deny payment for injured clients, claiming that it is possible that the injuries that my patients have was not caused by an auto accident.

Up until now the issue of concussions was a particularly tough one to handle med-legally. After all, it is POSSIBLE that a patient had experienced a concussion prior to an auto injury and then just presented to my clinic after a crash. However, just this week the FDA approved a blood test that can be used to diagnose a concussion, for the first time ever. This is a big deal for amateur and professional athletes everywhere, as well as for chiropractors such as myself that treat injury patients. Now we can produce specific test results that prove whether or not a concussion is present in a patient/athlete. That will help us treat these injuries better by knowing more for certain if they've been sustained in the first place.

The Banyan Brain Trauma indicator will function as a simple blood test. The test will be able to look for levels of UCH-L1 and GFAP proteins in the blood within 12 hours post-trauma. In clinical trials this test was able to predict the presence of an intra-cranial lesion 97.5 percent of the time and the absence of a lesion 99.6 percent of the time. While not perfect, these results will undoubtedly help cut down on unnecessary head CT scans, which are, after all, radioactive and can cause their own problems if done repeatedly.

Ultimately there is still a role for neurological evaluations and CT scans following concussion injuries. This blood test, however, will help us determine which injured patients clinically require the CT scans and which don't which will cut down on unnecessary radiation exposure and unnecessary medical spending, both of which are fantastic for the patients and the community at large.

I am excited to see this blood test gain acceptance and become implemented into clinics across the nation. I am also excited to be able to say with near 100 percent certainty that a given patient did experience a concussion as a result of a Baltimore auto accident injury and not be questioned about it repeatedly by insurance companies looking to deny care for injured parties.

If you, or someone you know, has been injured as a result of a Baltimore auto accident, whether you have or have not suffered from a concussion, please contact Mid-Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic at (443) 842-5500. We would be happy to help!

Dr. Gulitz

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