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Simple blood test detects ‘hidden’ brain injuries

In one of the largest studies of its kind, researchers are making new progress in finding ways to detect a traumatic yet sinister brain injury with a simple blood test, according to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

brain

The blood test can detect concussions and subconcussive injuries better and faster than a routine CT scan, even when there are no outward symptoms. Earlier detection could prevent more extensive damage, the AAAS reported.

An estimated 80% to 90% of people have had some form of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and an estimated 4 to 6 million people are on disability due to severe conditions resulting from their TBI, although many more are undocumented.

Many people think it’s military personnel or athletes who are prone to TBIs, but it can happen to anyone, for any number of reasons, such as a car accident, slip and fall incident or hitting your head.

Signs of TBI include poor concentration, mood changes, irritability, changes in your ability to focus and follow through on mental tasks, poor word recall, foggy thinking and sleep problems.

The accumulation of mild head trauma over time has been shown to raise your risk for neurological dysfunction later in life, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Even a single concussion could increase your risk for Parkinson’s by 56% to 83%, depending on the severity of the injury. Those with one or more TBIs in their past also received a diagnosis of Parkinson’s on average two years earlier compared to those who had never had a TBI.

Some head injuries can be prevented. Unfortunately, only about half of cyclists regularly wear helmets. This is especially tragic since helmets can save your life or prevent serious injury. 

Since 1998, more than 90% of the people who died in bicycle accidents weren’t wearing helmets.

Bicycle helmets sold in the U.S. are required to meet minimum standards, including withstanding a 6-foot drop test at room temperature as well as in extreme conditions.

Treatment methods for TBIs include floatation therapy and upping your intake of antioxidants, fish oil, CBD, vitamin D and melatonin, especially if there are issues with sleep.

Other treatment aids include hyperbaric oxygen therapy which involves saturating your tissues with oxygen; photobiomodulation, sometimes called low-light laser therapy; pulsed electromagnetic field therapy which raises the voltage and energy in your cells; transcranial direct current stimulation, neurofeedback and electroencephalography (EEG) of the brainwaves; and CBD or cannabidiol oil which benefits and has a repair effect on the neurologic system.