It is now possible to detect head trauma injury and its severity in under 15 minutes. The Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein (GFAP) analysis can help determine the intensity of brain injury with fair accuracy says the report published in the Journal of Neurotrauma.
The GFAP can be shown through a blood test that takes less than 15 minutes to process. The study was conducted by lead scientist David Okonkwo, director of the Neurotrauma Clinical Trials Center at UPMC and professor of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
The research was aimed towards the advancement and development of point-of-care testing device which can help diagnosticians with assessing traumatic brain injury (TBI) as soon as possible. Dr Okonkwo suggested this device will eliminate any guesswork from the diagnosis process.
The GFAP rapid blood test is simple using devices already in use in most hospitals. The lead scientist claims this test can decrease CT scans by 20%.
Brain injuries are very quick to deteriorate. Any time saved from guesswork and trial and error can be extremely helpful for both doctor and the patient.“Whether you’re testing a soldier injured in combat or testing a patient in a small rural hospital with limited resources, health care providers could have the critical information they need–in minutes–to treat each patient’s brain injury,” Dr Okonkwo was quoted as saying.
GFAP knowledge is not a new discovery. Blood tests via GFAP have been a subject of study for years. But the way it is used in this new test device is innovative. In this research, around 1497 people enrolled. The test subjects were chosen from those seeking care at any of the 18 Transforming Research and Clinical Knowledge in TBI (TRACK-TBI) level 1 trauma centres nationwide over four years.
Another protein, known as S100B was studied in tandem with the research. The two proteins are specific to injuries, released in the bloodstream as a response to injuries such as TBIs. However, the current research proves that GFAP is significantly more indicative than S100B as a diagnostic marker.
Diagnostic markers are biological indicators that help in diagnosing a disease. From pulse to certain hormones and proteins, there are a variety of elements in the human body that are used as diagnostic markers, as evidence of disease.