It was only a matter of time (there are a lot of VERY SMART people and with money on the line) before the new technology of using blood to test for a brain injury was made available to those that need it. As we posted in October, research found it possible that identifying certain proteins and markers in blood was linked to identifying a brain injury.
Now this information has led researchers at the Greensboro Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering in North Carolina to produce a hand held device for the testing. ESPN.com action sports writer Cameron Walker broke this story yesterday.
Sandros and her team are developing a device that would use a blood, saliva, or urine sample from a person with a suspected head injury. A chip will sense the presence of compounds in the body that the brain releases when it’s injured — a test that could be done quickly on the scene of an accident, whether on the hill or on the football field, and by anyone from military medics to first responders at an accident.
Although this is exciting news for those of us on “the concussion front” during a daily basis, it will be a few (more like five) years before it is available. Taking the subjective nature of the injury and making it more objective will not only make identifying the injury easier, but it will make the injury more “real”. This is important to the injured (because some are skeptical of an athletic trainer’s diagnosis) and doctors that are unsure how to diagnose and treat this very serious injury.
The researchers hope their device might be as widely available as automated external defibrillators (AEDs), which were once found only in hospitals but now have a place in many ski patrollers’ first aid kids.