Treating Traumatic Brain Injury by Diagnostic and Prognostic Biomarkers

Annually in the U.S., at least 3.5 million people are treated for traumatic brain injuries (TBI). A recent article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s neurology section reports that the development of therapies for TBI has been limited by the absence of diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers. The microtubule-associated protein Tau is an axonal phosphoprotein. Up to now, the presence of the protein in plasma from patients with acute TBI and chronic TBI has not been investigated.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is considered an event and/or a disease. Traumatic brain injuries may lead to chronic functional, neurocognitive and neuropsychiatric deficits. The three classifications of a TBI are measured by severity, which can be mild, moderate or severe.

There were more than 3.5 million emergency department visits for TBI and more than 280,000 patients are hospitalized annually with TBI; most of these are classified as mild TBI. It is presumed that there are many more individuals who have mild TBI, but do not seek medical attention. Between 2000 and 2014, more than 300,000 members of the military sustained TBI during combat and training. Approximately half of the patients with TBI in the U.S. have at least some short-term disability related to that injury or illness. TBI is associated with an increased risk of neurodegenerative disorder such as Alzheimer’s disease, which can occur in individuals years after the injury.

In the sports world, particularly in football and other contact sports, traumatic brain injury or even mild TBI is a risk factor for a neurodegenerative condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Chronic traumatic encephalopathy can be confirmed only by postmortem neuropathologic examination. In those cases where CTE is confirmed, there seems to be consensus that there is an abnormal accumulation of hyperphosphorylated Tau protein (P-tau) in neurons, astroglia and cell processes distributed around small blood vessels in an irregular pattern. Tau protein is involved in regulating axonal microtubule assembly and disassembly.

Medical advancements are being made in diagnosing and treating acute and chronic traumatic brain injuries. This article discusses in much greater detail how biomarkers are merging diagnostic tools for TBI. It was reported for the first time that plasma P-Tau level and P-Tau T-Tau ratio elevations are present among patients with chronic TBI. Taken together, these levels and ratio elevations are thought to be useful biomarkers for diagnosing and treating acute and chronic traumatic brain injuries.

The reference for this material is found on the JAMA Neurology Network Reader titled: Comparing Plasma Phospho Tau, Total Tau, and Phospho Tau – Total Tau Ratio as Acute and Chronic Traumatic Brain Injury Biomarkers.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling traumatic brain injury lawsuits, birth trauma injury cases and medical negligence cases for individuals, families and loved one who have been injured, harmed or killed by the negligence of a medical provider for more than 40 years, in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Rolling Meadows, Westmont, Hinsdale, Justice, Western Springs, Willowbrook, Oakbrook Terrace, Harvey, Dolton, Calumet City, Chicago (Marquette Park, Brighton Park, Little Village, Back of the Yards, Lawndale, Garfield Park, Austin, Edgewater, Lakeview, Roscoe Village), Norridge, Schiller Park and River Grove, Ill.

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