The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved a long-awaited blood test to detect concussions in people and more quickly identify those with possible brain injuries. The test, called the Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator, is also expected to reduce the number of people exposed to radiation through CT scans, or computed tomography scans, that detect brain tissue damage or intracranial lesions. If the blood test is adopted widely, it could eliminate the need for CT scans in at least a third of those with suspected brain injuries, the agency predicted.
While a test to diagnose concussions quickly will be welcomed in the medical and sports worlds, it does not address the growing worries about the cumulative effect of repeated head hits. Head hits absorbed over many years of playing football and other sports have been linked to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease found in autopsies of former football players, other athletes, and soldiers.