There have been a few different hand-held diagnostic devices coming out for traumatic brain injury over the past year or two, but they all rely on either standardizing subjective questions asked by those believed to have dealt with a brain injury, or not entirely reliable light scans of the brain to look for areas that may have been damaged.
A new device hopes to make diagnosis of TBI much easier, and much more reliable, by identifying biomarker in the blood stream linked to brain damage, as well as looking for heightened levels of proteins in the bloodstream.
The machine would rely on just a small pin-prick of blood, and would be similar to a glucose testing kit for diabetics. Professor Roger Sabbadini, one of the creators of the device, said the machine could also be used in conjunction with urine testing to objectively identify TBI.
The device won’t be able to identify brain injury much better than a quality hospital would, but in most cases, the sooner a brain injury is identified, the better is can be treated and managed. Sabbadini said, “The idea is that if you can diagnose those things on the sidelines at a game […] What we are doing is a rapid point-of-care diagnostic.”
Immediate testing could help athletes be easily tested after heavy collisions, and better inform sideline health professionals as to whether a play can continue to play safely. It could also help improve treatment of soldiers and victims of driving accidents.
According to The Herald Sun, a prototype of the machine has already been developed, but the device still needs to pass clinical testing before it could reach public use. The tests are likely to take more than a year, so if the machine passes clinical tests, it will still likely be years before you see the device on sidelines of sports games.