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Simple Blood Sample to Diagnose TBI Severity Could Reduce Need for MRI Scan

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 11 May 2022
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Image: Researchers have identified blood biomarkers that indicate how serious a head trauma is (Photo courtesy of Pexels)
Image: Researchers have identified blood biomarkers that indicate how serious a head trauma is (Photo courtesy of Pexels)

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the most common neurological diseases worldwide affecting all ages and is commonly caused by a fall, road traffic accident or assault. TBI is divided into three categories ranging from mild to severe, although no reliable methods exist for ruling out acute brain injury. Researchers have now identified biomarkers in the blood that can indicate how serious a head trauma is, enabling a simple blood sample to diagnose TBI severity.

Researchers at Örebro University (Örebro, Sweden) who have been working on a non-surgical procedure to diagnose TBI severity used blood samples collected by EU project CENTER-TBI - the largest study of its kind. The EU project CENTER-TBI currently prospectively collects clinical data including records from 5,400 patients, files of imaging workup as well as blood samples from TBI patients from 60 sites of 18 countries. The overall objective is to apply metabolic profiling of serum in the CENTER-TBI cohort to study the utility of the existing as well as to identify novel biomarkers of TBI which are also predictive of patient outcomes.

Using metabolomics - a chemical analysis method to extract information about thousands of small molecules - the Örebro researchers have identified biomarkers that can be linked to TBI. With the help of these biomarkers, healthcare providers will not only be able to assess the severity of the injury but also predict the patient outcome. Healthcare providers will be able to categorize the injuries more clearly by simply taking a blood sample which is cost-effective, simpler and safer for the patient and eliminates the need for an MRI scan.

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