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New Concussion Research: Bedside Blood Concussion Test May Detect Traumatic Brain Injuries Quickly

June 14, 2024

David Okonkwo, MD, PhD, has spent two decades developing technologies and treatments to transform management of concussions, traumatic brain injuries, and complex spinal disorders.

His innovation and commercialization efforts have resulted in several medical devices and tests, including the Abbott i-STAT TBI blood test, which helps clinicians evaluate patients 18 years of age and older who show mild traumatic brain injury symptoms.

“The Abbott i-STAT TBI blood test gives us concrete data about a patient with a concussion or traumatic brain injury,”1 said Dr. Okonkwo.

More testing and research are required to bring the tool to sidelines of sporting games where athletes may need it most. Currently, the Abbott i-STAT TBI blood test requires a blood draw, but researchers are working to create a more simplified finger prick.

“We will expand the project to the pediatric population and hopefully get to a place where a blood test will tell us the best treatment of a concussion,”1 Dr. Okonkwo said.

In addition to developing innovative tests to improve patient outcomes, Dr. Okonkwo also serves as professor of Neurological Surgery, director of the Neurotrauma Clinical Trials Center at the University of Pittsburgh, director of Neurotrauma and the Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Program at UPMC Presbyterian, and adviser to UPMC Enterprises.

Learn more about Dr. Okonkwo.

Additional Reading

  1. New blood test could diagnose traumatic brain injuries quickly – WPXI
  2. FDA Clears First Rapid Handheld Blood Test for Concussions - UPMC & Pitt Health Sciences News Blog