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Lipid biomarker could help doctors diagnose brain injuries

West Virginia doctors may someday be able to use a lipid biomarker to diagnose brain injuries in patients. A new preclinical study shows that a lipid called lysophosphatidic acid, or LPA, sharply increases after the body suffers a traumatic brain injury, or TBI. The study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, was published in The American Journal of Pathology.

According to the authors of the study, it is currently difficult for doctors to determine the severity of a brain injury. This lack of clarity also makes it difficult to accurately predict a TBI patient's prognosis and recommend a treatment plan. Therefore, researchers have been looking for non-invasive biomarkers that can help doctors fully assess the degree of a brain injury. Researchers say LPA could serve as a biomarker because it is linked with major regions of brain pathology and significantly increases following injuries.

For the study, scientists measured LPA levels in rodents one hour and three hours after an impact injury. They found that LPA and LPA precursors sharply increased one hour after an injury. They also observed a notable increase in brain-wide LPA diffusion three hours after an injury. The lead author of the study said the results indicate that LPA could be a useful biomarker of brain injuries and could help doctors accurately predict patient outcomes.

Brain injury victims may have grounds to take legal action against the party who harmed them. For example, if the injury occurred in a car accident, the victim could sue the at-fault driver for damages, including medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. An attorney could review a victim's case and explain all legal options available.

Source: News Medical, "Traumatic-brain-injury-biomarker-could-help-predict-patient-prognosis.aspxTraumatic brain injury biomarker could help predict patient prognosis", Sally Robertson, July 16, 2018

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