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Testing urine could reveal if soldiers have a brain injury

Brain injuries may not always be obvious. Many people in Montana and across the country may have suffered a traumatic brain injury without displaying symptoms. Left untreated, these conditions can grow worse and cause major problems for the injured. Fortunately, researchers have discovered a new way to tell if a brain injury is present.

When someone suffers a brain injury, the body produces a substance called acrolein. This neurotoxin can be found in someone’s urine following the event that led to the injury. The Journal of Neurosurgery published a study that found that in animals who lacked neurological signs of damage but suffered a brain injury, there was three times the normal level of acrolein concentrations.

The study is encouraging, especially for veterans who have suffered an injury due to a blast. According to statistics, 52 percent of traumatic brain injuries among soldiers are considered blast-induced and do not result in obvious symptoms. Following the injury, there are two types of damage: the initial injury due to the explosion’s shock wave, and the secondary damage that ensues. That secondary damage, which could lead to neurological dysfunction, could be treated with drug therapy.

Once a blast-related brain injury is detected, scientists believe that the drug hydralazine could help to reduce the concentration of acrolein, which contributes to secondary damage. It remains to be seen how this information will translate to people who suffer brain injuries from other sources. Anyone who has experienced such an injury due to someone else’s negligence should consult with an attorney.

Source: Futurity, “Urine test might detect brain injury from blasts,” Emil Venere-Purdue, Aug. 28, 2015

 

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