Blood biomarkers to diagnose mild TBI; more studies on TBI, concussion

An abundance of studies pointing the way to digital health opportunity. A surprise on the early morning radio news in NYC was mention of a report on a blood biomarker that could confirm a diagnosis of concussion, published in the Journal of Neurotrauma. Once found, it wasn’t exactly as advertised but the research is worth reviewing. First, it applies to mild TBI. The biomarker is the extensively studied glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) versus another biomarker, S100β. The key finding by the central Florida-based team is that in a general trauma population, GFAP out-performed S100β in detecting intracranial lesions as diagnosed in CT scans. Scrolling down in the article is a link to the abstract of a meta-study of 11 biomarkers in concussion, by the same lead researcher and another team. The current featured articles in Neurotrauma are a stunning review of studies around concussion and TBI, including two very interesting articles on why air evacuation can do more harm than good (unless absolutely necessary) for TBI patients (altitude lowers oxygen levels) and how mild TBI suffered by retired NFL players has long-term negative metabolic and pituitary effects. All paywalled unless you have library access or a friend with subscription access; however some of the citation articles are open access. But for health tech developers looking for problems to solve better, cheaper and faster, here it is–a lot more promising than yet another me-too wearable. 

TBI neuromodulation therapy in phase 3 trials with US Army

Helius Medical Technologies and the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC) jointly announced the phase 3 trial of Helius’ mPoNS (Portable Neuromodulation Stimulator), a non-invasive brain stimulation device for the treatment of balance disorder in patients with mild-to-moderate traumatic brain injury. This commercializes the research of USAMRMC and University of Wisconsin-Madison we covered two years ago [TTA 28 Feb 13] in using electrical stimulation of the cranial nerves located in the tongue. The phase 3 study will be at three sites for seven months: the Montreal Neurofeedback Center, the Oregon Health & Science University Center for Regenerative Medicine, and the Orlando Regional Medical Center. The mPoNS is also being researched in Canada for treatment of gait and balance in multiple sclerosis. Press release