Tech Transfer eNews Blog

U of Birmingham researchers develop device to rapidly assess brain injury


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: October 14th, 2020

A research team at the University of Birmingham in the UK is using a chemical biomarker released by the brain upon head injury to pinpoint when patients need urgent medical attention.

Developed in the lab of university researcher Pola Goldberg Oppenheimer, the technology could save time in delivering vital treatment to traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients and avoid unnecessary tests on patients who have suffered no significant damage.

“The current tools we use to diagnose TBI are really quite old fashioned, and rely on the subjective judgment of the paramedic or the emergency doctors,” says Oppenheimer. “There’s an urgent need for new technology in this area to enable us to offer the right treatment for the patient, and also to avoid expensive and time-consuming tests for patients where there is no TBI.”

In a study, 48 patients were assessed using the new device, with 139 samples taken from patients with TBI and 82 from a control group. The study showed that in the TBI group, the levels of the chemical biomarker were around five times higher than those in the control group. It also showed that the levels tailed off rapidly about an hour after the injury occurred, further highlighting the need for a faster diagnostic device.

The research team has completed Innovate UK’s iCURE commercialization program, and in the process has identified potential industry partners across eight countries. The team’s next step is to miniaturize the device for easy storage in ambulances, hospitals, sports venues and other places that would benefit from a rapid TBI screening device.

Source: University of Birmingham

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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