Two protein biomarkers can be tested within 24 hours of a traumatic brain injury to determine whether a patient will pass away or experience severe disability. Tests for the protein biomarkers UCH-L1 and GFAP can be used to assess the patient’s condition six months later. This was the result of recent research in The Lancet Neurology.
Researchers at the University of Michigan received blood samples from 1,700 people who had suffered traumatic brain injuries (TBI). On the day of the TBI, the levels of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and ubiquitin carboxy-terminal hydrolase L1 were assessed in the patients (UCH-L1). The percentage of patients who would probably pass away or survive after six months could then be calculated, according to the study’s findings. The GFAP results showed that the risk of death was 23 times higher for those in the top 20%. This risk was 63 times higher, according to the UCH-L1 test results. For patients who had moderate to severe TBI, the biomarker had the highest predictive value, the researchers found.
The use of these biomarkers was given approval by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2018 to help physicians decide whether a CT scan is necessary to examine the brain after a mild TBI.
“Early and accurate prediction of TBI outcomes will help clinicians assess the severity of a brain injury,” says Frederick Carl, a member of the research team. Making decisions about the patient’s potential treatment will be simpler for the family as a result.
TBI is primarily caused by sports injuries and falls from great heights, as well as car accidents, are the leading causes. This can also result in head injuries. It can affect anyone at any age and cause brain damage. When a sudden blow to the head causes the head to jump or twist, stretching the brain’s cells, brain damage occurs. Internal damage alters the chemical makeup of the brain, preventing it from functioning normally. This can result in dementia or coma.