Researchers from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences believe they have found a new biomarker for mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) in the shape of microRNAs, according to a new study published in PLOS ONE,
There have been several attempts of varying levels of success to find an objective marker which could greatly improve diagnosis of brain injuries. These new findings may open the door to a better option for objectively diagnosing brain injuries than others being currently tested.
Dr. Radha K. Maheshwari, professor of Pathology at the military’s Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and his colleagues examined the changes in blood microRNAs in response to various intensities of brain injury, Upon analysis, the researchers saw a unique and specific group of RNAs which were only detected in blood immediately after the injury to the brain. This suggests the microRNAs can be measured in the blood as proxies for mTBI.
Perhaps more notable for veterans who have suffered brain injuries, the microRNA panel found in this study is unique from the blood microRNAs associated with post-traumatic stress disorder, allowing doctors to better differentiate between the two conditions.
“This important finding is a step forward in identifying objective biomarkers for mTBI that may be further validated to accurately and cost-effectively identify mTBI in service members and civilians with brain injuries. Our current effort is to identify the precise role these microRNAs play in mTBI which may help in development of mTBI therapies,” Dr. Maheshwari added.