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A rapid blood test for detecting concussions has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The test was created by medical device manufacturer Abbott Laboratories. According to its developers, the rapid test is handy and could eliminate the need for expensive computerized tomography (CT) scans to assess head injuries.
Dr. Beth McQuiston, a medical director at Abbott Laboratories, said that more than 100 scientists spent seven years developing the new test. The procedure can accurately detect positive results 95.8% of the time and negative results 99% of the time.
The test works by measuring the amount of protein in the blood after a traumatic brain injury. It can yield results in 15 minutes. If the blood test detects little to no trace of protein, it is unlikely that the patient has any damaged tissue. Dr. McQuiston said that such a result assures patients that they can safely skip further examinations. However, if patients have high amounts of protein in their blood, they still need to go through CT scans.
The test can only be used on patients with suspected mild concussions and not those with severe injuries or symptoms.
Dr. McQuiston said that the cost of the test will be much lower than the cost of a CT scan. She added that Abbott Laboratories was working to have the tests distributed to hospitals and emergency departments as soon as possible.
Currently, the test is only approved for patients over 18, but Abbott Laboratories is planning to study its effectiveness for children.