The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved the Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator, the first-ever blood test to detect signs of a traumatic brain injury.
The test identifies two proteins that appear in the blood within 12 hours of a serious brain injury, the Los Angeles Times reports. The levels of those proteins can then predict which patients may have brain lesions that can be seen on a CT scan and which won't. Test results come back about four hours later, but Banyan Biomarkers Chairman and CEO Henry Nordhoff told the Times they are working on creating a test with a turn-around of less than an hour.
CT scans are done in order to locate and monitor bruising, swelling, and bleeding in the brain, and many people undergo the scans to ensure they don't have a serious brain injury; these scans cost on average $1,200 and exposes a patient to the radiation equivalent of 100 to 200 chest X-rays. The military wants to use the Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator out in the battlefield, and Nordhoff said he's hoping that within two years, there will be a faster and smaller test that can be used in ambulances and athletic facilities.