A team of researchers from hospitals in Seville, Madrid, and Barcelona, and the University of Geneva have introduced a new blood testing device that could help bring vast reductions in the amount of time and money required for the diagnosis of brain injuries. The small device can point toward the possibility of a mild traumatic injury to the brain by assessing the level of some proteins with the help of a single blood drop.
The researchers built their work on finding out whether certain proteins that increase in the blood in case of a mild traumatic injury to the brain can be isolated. The idea behind the research was to devise a way of undertaking a quick assessment that can allow to determine whether in case of a sport-related injury on fields an athlete is fit to resume the game or requires hospitalization. This makes the device an opposite of a CT scan, a diagnostic method that is lengthy and requires the specific apparatus and setup.
Head injuries carry a risk of mild trauma to the brain and require CT scans for a detailed diagnosis of the condition. During a head injury, some brain cells undergo damage and release certain proteins in the blood. The researchers were able to differentiate between the amount of these proteins in case of mild traumatic injury to the brain and in the case of a brain lesion. The proteomic analysis was then used to measure the volumes of thousands of proteins and assess variations in their levels in the blood. Gradually, four molecules were isolated— S100B, H-FABP, GFAP, and Interleukin-10—that indicate the presence or absence of a worrisome injury to the brain.
The test, named TBIcheck, assesses, with the help of a single droplet of blood on a tiny five-cm plastic case, whether the patient carries the risk of a mild brain trauma within 10 minutes. The researchers have suggested that the level of the protein H-FABP in the blood can along make it possible for confirming whether the patient is at the risk of a mild brain trauma. According to the researchers, the device can be refined by accommodating a Cube Reader that will display the results as negative or positive and send it to a smartphone. The researchers further plan to make the device capable of diagnosing strokes, brain trauma, and aneurysms.