USA Today (10/15, Zoroya, TBI) reports the Army says it has discovered a simple blood test that can diagnose mild traumatic brain damage or concussion. “This is huge,” said Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the Army vice chief of staff.Army Col. Dallas Hack, who has oversight of the research, says recent data show the blood test, which looks for unique proteins that spill into the blood stream from damaged brain cells, accurately diagnosing mild traumatic brain injury in 34 patients. Doctors can miss these injuries because the damage does not show up on imaging scans, and symptoms such as headaches or dizziness are ignored or downplayed by the victims. If the brain is not allowed time to recover and a second concussion occurs, permanent damage may result. Brain injuries afflict 1.4 million Americans each year, says the National Brain Injury Association. Seventy percent are mild cases. About 300,000 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have suffered concussions, mostly from roadside bombs, according to a RAND Corp. study. Hack says the new findings could rival the discovery of unique proteins in the 1970s that now help doctors identify heart disease.
Posts Tagged ‘TBI’
The Washington Times (9/10) “Sgt. Shaft” column reports that, according to a reader, “some members of Congress,” including Reps. Walter B. Jones (R-NC), Pete Sessions (R-TX), and Chet Edwards (D-TX), “have found and are championing a treatment that works” for traumatic brain injuries (TBI): “hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT).” The reader asks Sgt. Shaft to “help change the military and VA healthcare systems so that HBOT is the standard treatment for TBI.” Sgt. Shaft replies that Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki “recently approved the purchase of a hyperbaric chamber for use in treating” patients with TBI at the VA’s “Tampa Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center in Florida. ‘The VA will use this as a test in treating TBI patients to determine if there is any value in the use of the chamber as a method of patient care,’” Shinseki is quoted as saying.
HealthDay (3/15, Preidt) reported that “a new class of Alzheimer’s disease drugs may prevent long-term damage from traumatic brain injury, suggests a study of mice by Georgetown University Medical Center researchers.” The medications “– gamma-secretase inhibitors — are designed to target amyloid plaque that accumulates in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.” Researchers noted that “people who’ve suffered a brain injury have a 400 percent increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.” For the study, which appears in the journal Nature Medicine, they “first conducted tests that showed that brain injury in mice resulted in substantially more amyloid peptide than normal. They then found that amyloid peptide production after brain injury was reduced in mice that received an experimental agent called DAPT, one of the first gamma secretase inhibitors developed and the basis for some Alzheimer’s disease drugs now in clinical trials.” Their findings “suggest that this class of drugs could do something no other drug has been able to do — prevent the long-term and continuing damage that often follows serious brain injury.” The Press Association (3/16) also covers the story.