Photo via Abbott

Abbott: The Future of Concussion Assessment

Originally published on

Can a blood test help doctors assess a concussion? A new test under development from Abbott could do just that.

What will concussion detection look like in the future? Here’s how our latest blood test, currently in development, could be used to help doctors detect a concussion within minutes, objectively and reliably: 

When people talk about concussions — a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that can leave serious and lasting damage — they tend to think about them as a modern-day problem.

Yet, experts across multiple disciplines have studied brain injuries for centuries. And though we know more than ever, many brain injuries still go undiagnosed. But that could change.

Concussions: then and now

The first recognition of a concussion, according to the journal Neurology, was thought to be made by the Persian physician Rhazes in the 10th century. The word comes from the Latin concutere, which means “to shake violently.” By the 18th century, a variety of hypotheses on how brain injuries happened had emerged, but doctors couldn’t quite figure it out.

In the 20th century, the mystery behind how to detect concussions became more of a mainstream concern. Each case of reported brain injury gave researchers more information to help diagnose a seemingly undiagnosable issue.

In 1974, doctors began using the Glasgow Coma Scale to rate a person’s symptoms by looking at their eyes, body and responses to gauge the severity of the TBI. However, the Glasgow Coma Scale was not developed specifically just to evaluate concussions but was used to treat a variety of conditions. Which is why clinicians began to supplement this assessment using imaging tools — CT scans in the 1970s and MRIs in the 1980s, respectively — to help see inside the brain.

CT scans have been commonly used to look for bleeding or swelling in the brain. According to a 2013 study, however, up to almost 30% of patients with a normal CT scan show signs of TBI when reviewing more detailed imaging from an MRI scan.

Those methods are still used today, but delivering accurate results is more challenging than it might seem. The current tools and protocols leave a gap in which many brain injuries still go unrecognized and undiagnosed.

Real-time results when every minute matters

That’s where Abbott’s new blood test in development comes in. The blood test is being developed for Abbott’s next generation handheld blood analyzer: i-STAT™  Alinity™ system.

The concussion assessment test in development would detect two biomarkers associated with brain injury: *GFAP and *UCH-L1. Those biomarkers may be released into the bloodstream when the brain has been injured; their presence could indicate an injury.

New research, published in Lancet Neurology, found that 64% of people with the highest levels of a protein in the blood were confirmed to have brain injury through an MRI scan, even when a CT scan did not detect it.

Findings from the Transforming Research and Clinical Knowledge in Traumatic Brain Injury (TRACK-TBI) study — one of the largest TBI research efforts of its kind — show this new technology could help fill a gap in emergency rooms today by identifying patients who could have otherwise gone undiagnosed. Accurate and timely assessment is the first step toward recovery.

Abbott’s new test, currently in development, could be a game-changer in helping clinicians evaluate patients suffering from a TBI. This innovative technology is a small glimpse into the future of healthcare.

Latest News

Hershey Employees and Retirees in the US and Canada Pledged More Than $900,000 in 2021 To Support Nonprofit Organizations

Originally published on LinkedIn. The Hershey Company ranked No. 10 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.    Each year, our Season of Giving campaign encourages Hershey employees to make a difference by supporting nonprofit organizations which they find to be meaningful. Employees and retirees in…

Creating Windows and Mirrors: Hershey’s Amber Murayi on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the ‘World’s Top Female-Friendly Company’

Amber Murayi is the Hershey Company’s Senior Director of Enterprise Strategy & Business Model Innovation & Co-lead of the Women’s Business Resource Group. The Hershey Company ranked No. 10 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.    My position affords me a unique view of DEI…

Author Alice Sebold

Author Alice Sebold Apologizes for Her Role in the Wrongful Conviction of the Black Man Charged With Raping Her

In her acclaimed 1999 memoir Lucky, author Alice Sebold told the story of being raped in 1981 when she was a student at Syracuse University. The case resulted in a Black man named Anthony Broadwater being convicted and sent to prison. Sadly, Broadwater was innocent and wrongfully convicted — and…

Black renters

New Study Reveals Landlords Consistently Discriminate Against Potential Renters With Black or Hispanic ‘Sounding’ Names

In the largest study of its kind ever conducted, researchers with the National Bureau of Economic Research have uncovered what many people of color already know when hunting for an apartment or home: most landlords consistently discriminate or harbor bias against non-white individuals looking to rent their property.  Bloomberg’s Kelsey…

book banning

American Library Association Documents 155 Attempts at Banning Books About POC or LGBTQ Issues in the Last 6 Months

In a depressing turn for anyone who thought society may have outgrown book burning or censorship of books over the last 100 years, it appears the hate-filled phenomenon is back on the rise, increasing with alarming frequency across the country. CNN’s Nicole Chavez has reported the American Library Association “has…