MINNETONKA, Minn. – According to the Centers for Disease Control there are an estimated 2.2 million emergency room visits a year for traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
Researchers in Minnesota are conducting a study to help better diagnose concussions. The University of Minnesota, Hennepin County Medical Center and Abbott Diagnostic Labs in Chicago are launching the nation's largest, single-center study of concussions and TBI.
The comprehensive study that would include evaluation tools like checking proteins in the blood, MRI’s and eye tracking. Researchers will screen 9,000 people who have suffered a brain trauma. One thousand will participate in the study. Patients will range from children to elderly adults.
The goal is to identify a wide range of brain injuries among patients, evaluate diagnostic tools and provide better information to help inform doctors' diagnosis.
Even mild concussions can cause long term damage. Minnetonka High School Senior Amar Miller was lucky that his concussion during his first season on the team did not cause permanent damage.
“I was blindsided I was blocked from my teammate and got blindsided knocked to the ground couldn't get up. I had a mild concussion,” said the wide receiver.
Neurosurgeon Dr. Uzma Samadani said, “Sometimes we tell someone they have a mild brain injury but they actually have a injury that could be debilitating and cause major problems down the road. In fact, they may have a fatal brain injury and it may not meet criteria for a severe brain injury.”
She says the current approach to diagnosing concussions is flawed. “Our goal is to develop a classification system that better captures what's actually wrong with the brain so we can't get therapeutics appropriately,” said Dr. Samadani.