If you suffer a serious brain injury in an accident, your life is unlikely to be the same ever again, and it could be very different indeed.
Yet, telling how much a brain injury will affect you can be challenging and the wait to see if you recover can be highly distressing for those who love you.
Researchers believe they have come up with a way to speed up the wait
A combined team from multiple universities found that taking blood samples from someone who has suffered a brain injury and testing them for two specific protein biomarkers can help predict that person’s chance of survival.
It could help family members to gain a more realistic idea of the probable outcome much sooner. It could also help hospitals needing to prioritize patients to make better decisions.
For example, until now they might prioritize treating a teenager with a brain injury over a pensioner with one because the young person is considered to have more life left to live and to be stronger due to their age. If the blood test could accurately inform them that the teen is almost certain to die from their injuries, the hospital could change its priorities to focus on the elder patient. The researchers believe the tests are over 80% accurate in certain scenarios.
If validated, these tests could also help those who suffer brain injuries in an accident to get adequate compensation because they (or those claiming on their behalf) will have a more accurate idea of the long-term prognosis. It will make it simpler for their legal representative to counter an insurer’s low offer based on a more positive but inaccurate prognosis.