A barely bruised brain can send out molecular SOS signals in the blood for days after an injury, researchers report this week in JAMA Neurology.
The finding suggests that new blood tests, already in development to detect those signals, may be able to identify even the mildest concussions well after a knock to the head.
Concussions are a clinical diagnosis, and not determined by imaging such as a CT scan of the brain. Most people who have a concussion have a normal CT. From reading the abstract, it appears that the CT was performed to rule out an intracranial lesion (such as a subdural hematoma) which is a related but different issue from a concussion. The utility of the blood test would be to detect evidence of a recent concussive event without the need to perform neurologic testing.
This is an interesting assessment of the news: http://www.healthnewsreview.org/review/new-blood-test-detect-concussions/
Warfarin/Coumadin = Concussion?
Being on warfarin/coumadin does not make us at more risk for concussions – it increases the risk for intracranial bleeding, most often [when it happens] is a subdural hematoma (SDH). Patients with even mild head injuries who are on warfarin/coumadin who come to the emergency department almost always receive a CT scan to check for a SDH. Some recommendations even say that they should all received a second CT in 12-24 hours to check for any delayed bleeding. But this is entirely different than a concussion.
There is a chance that this would help reduce the number of CTs though. The article indicates that the blood tests are elevated in people with SDH as well as other intracranial bleeding types. Therefore it may be possible to derive a guideline that if a patient on warfarin/coumadin with a head injury has a negative blood test, then a scan wouldn’t be necessary. That would definitely be helpful.