A blood test for concussions

When diagnosing a mild Traumatic Brain Injury, or concussion, the standard tool is a CT scan pointed at your head. But CT scans are expensive and could expose patients to unnecessary amounts of radiation if nothing shows up in the scan. That’s the problem the first FDA-approved blood test for concussions—the Brain Trauma Indicator—aims to solve. The test identifies elevated levels of two proteins whose presence suggest CT scan-visible damage, essentially providing a pre-screener for the more expensive procedure. The device, produced by Banyan Biomarkers, was approved via the FDA’s Breakthrough Devices Program, which is basically the Breakthrough Therapy Designation’s cousin program. While sports aren’t the only (or most important) application for such a test, the timelines associated with the test are not yet practical for game-time decisions. Results take 3-4 hours to obtain. Antonio Brown, you’re cleared to play—for now.