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11 December 2018 | Firm News | Article by Cari Sowden-Taylor

Diagnosing TBI: A new tool provides hope for faster routes to treatment


In the November 2018 edition of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers’ (APIL) PI Focus magazine, it was reported how scientists from the University of Geneva have developed a handheld device that is capable of diagnosing TBI (traumatic brain injury) in just ten minutes, even for mild cases.

The University of Geneva’s website explains that the small device, called the TBICheck (which was developed in collaboration with the Spanish Hospitals of Barcelona, Madrid and Seville), works by analysing just a drop of a patient’s blood. The level of the protein H-FABP in the blood is analysed.  Patients with excess levels of the protein are advised to go to hospital for further investigations to be carried out.

Currently, the common way of testing whether a patient is suffering from a TBI is for them to undergo a scan. These are expensive, only available in certain hospitals and importantly, they may expose patients to radiation. Patients can also experience lengthy waits before undergoing a CT or MRI scan. The TBICheck will revolutionise the way TBI is diagnosed. The simple device can be used by lay people and in any setting, for example in schools and on the side of sports pitches. It will also be possible to use the device in remote places such as ski resorts, where medical treatment can be limited.

By being able to diagnose a TBI quickly, patients can access the medical treatment that they need promptly and hospitals will be able to better prioritise and manage patients. On the other hand, those who do not require any further treatment can avoid unnecessary trips to the hospital and lengthy waits. For the avoidance of any doubt, users can install a reader to the device which will send the word  ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ to their smartphone to confirm the result.

Commercialisation of the device is planned for the beginning of 2019, with a more advanced and accurate version already in development. The second version of the TBICheck hopes to allow up to 50% of patients to be sent home, without the need for further checks. The ultimate goal of the developers is to create a biomarker capable of diagnosing brain trauma, aneurysms and stroke.

However, whilst the TBICheck is obviously a very exciting and promising invention, it is yet to be tested in medical settings. Of course, as the article in PI Focus recognises, the accuracy of the device will need to be proven and approved before it can be introduced and widely used. An inaccurate reading could result in patients receiving a false, negative result, meaning that they do not seek further treatment. Ultimately, this could result in further, or a more severe injury due to a delay in diagnosis.

If you believe you may have suffered a TBI, it is important that you receive the necessary medical checks and treatment as soon as possible. For further information regarding brain injury, including pursuing a compensation claim following a brain injury, our specialist team is here to help.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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