Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

DVBIC blood plasma study assists in TBI and PTSD diagnosis

Image of Air Force Senior Airman Kristen N. Kelsey, a medical laboratory technician with the 514th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, Air Force Reserve Command, labels blood samples at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mark Olsen). Air Force Senior Airman Kristen N. Kelsey, a medical laboratory technician with the 514th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, Air Force Reserve Command, labels blood samples at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mark Olsen)

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence

For many years, researchers have looked for objective measures to help diagnose traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorders.

Information from the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center’s 15-year natural history study is assisting medical researchers in determining whether a protein found in a patient’s blood could be a promising candidate for future diagnostic tools.

A blow to the head is one of the ways a service members can sustain a TBI, and after witnessing psychologically disturbing events, they may also experience PTSD. Diagnosing these can be complex as they have similar symptoms that can be compounded when both are present.

Since 2000, more than 400,000 active-duty service members have been diagnosed with TBI, according to figures from DVBIC, the Department Department’s center of excellence for traumatic brain injury and a division of the Defense Health Agency Research and Development Directorate. However, a statistic revealing those co-presenting with PTSD has not been compiled.

In a 2018 research review on mild TBI (mTBI) and PTSD, the DVBIC noted that “differential diagnosis will likely continue to be a challenge.”

Jessica Gill, a researcher at the National Institutes of Health, and Dr. Kimbra Kenney, an associate professor of neurology at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, both located in Bethesda, Maryland, are currently examining patients’ blood to see whether it can help in diagnosing and treating TBI.

“By pairing advances in the laboratory we are now able to detect very small proteins in the blood that provide key insights into pathology that contribute to long-term symptoms in military personnel and veterans with TBIs, as well with PTSDs,” said Gill.

At a recent conference, Kenney explained how specific types of blood proteins were significantly elevated among those with concussions, compared to subjects who had been deployed but not sustained TBIs. Blood samples are being collected at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center as part of their research in a study of the natural history of TBI funded by the DoD and Department of Veterans Affairs.

In another project using data from the 15-year natural history study, researchers are examining blood proteins in subjects who had both sustained a TBI and reported PTSD symptoms. Earlier studies had shown that tau and amyloid-beta-42 proteins indicated the presence of TBI; now researchers believe the presence of both proteins could reveal individuals with both TBI and PTSD.

Study participants consisted of 107 service members. Evidence of TBI was obtained from medical records and interviews at Walter Reed Bethesda. Most participants were diagnosed with a mild traumatic brain injury while the remaining subjects experienced an injury unrelated to TBI but did not lose consciousness. Each participant provided a blood sample and completed a detailed questionnaire. Three groups were formed: those with both TBI and PTSD; those with some other injury and no PTSD; and those with TBI but no PTSD.

The researchers found “tau in plasma is significantly elevated in military personnel who have sustained an mTBI and display concurrent PTSD symptomology.” This finding agrees with earlier civilian studies. Following a TBI, tau elevations are associated with poor recoveries and greater neurological problems.

These studies may show relationships between neurological outcomes and changes at the molecular level. “The novel design of the 15-year study provides the first longitudinal data to untangle complex pathological processes that result in lasting neurological and psychological symptoms and impairments,” Gill said. “By better understanding these processes, we can personalize the care we provide to treat military personnel and veterans to have the biggest impact on their health and well-being.”


You also may be interested in...

Immediate Testing: How the Military Evaluates Risk For Brain Injuries

Article
3/28/2022
Pfc. Thomas Icenogle, a student in the Army’s Combat Medic Specialist Training Program at the Medical Education and Training Campus on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, conducts a Military Acute Concussion Evaluation 2 (MACE 2) on Pvt. Alejandro Leija, while Pvt. Dominic Dubois refers to the MACE 2 card. (Photo: Lisa Braun, Medical Education and Training Campus Public Affairs)

MACE 2 allows for a quick assessment of traumatic brain injuries in the field and is similar to sports concussion checks.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury

One Airmans Recovery from TBI

Video
3/28/2022
One Airmans Recovery from TBI

After a motorcycle accident, Master Sergeant Stalnaker started having symptoms of traumatic brain injury, or TBI. He tells his story about his symptoms and his road to recovery from physical and emotional wounds as a result.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury

Five Clinical Tools To Help Assess and Treat TBI

Article
3/17/2022
An Army 'gun team' brace for the concussion of a 105mm howitzer during operations in Iraq in 2008. (Photo: Master Sgt. Kevin Doheny)

Here are five new ways that doctors can diagnose and treat mild concussions.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury

Ask the Doc: Can a Concussion Affect Hearing and Vision?

Article
3/16/2022
Elizabeth Kirkpatrick, a physical therapist for the Fort Drum Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Clinic, New York, uses a model of the inner ear on Feb. 27, 2019, to demonstrate how a concussion can cause inner ear, or vestibular, damage which may result in dizziness, anxiety, depression, moodiness, balance problems and irritability to name a few. (Photo: Warren W. Wright Jr., Fort Drum MEDDAC)

Even a mild concussion can lead to hearing and vision problems.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Hearing Center of Excellence | Vision Center of Excellence | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Ask The Doc

TBICoE 2021 Publications

Publication
3/16/2022

Master list of 2021 TBICoE articles published in research journals

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Patient and Family Resources | TBICoE Research | Traumatic Brain Injury

One Airman's Recovery from TBI

Video
3/9/2022
One Airman's Recovery from TBI

After a motorcycle accident, Master Sergeant Stalnaker started having symptoms of traumatic brain injury, or TBI. He tells his story about his symptoms and his road to recovery from physical and emotional wounds as a result. If you’re experiencing symptoms of TBI, visit health.mil/TBI to learn about the resources available to you.

Recommended Content:

Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Traumatic Brain Injury

A Retired Navy SEAL Discusses his TBI

Video
3/9/2022
A Retired Navy SEAL Discusses his TBI

Retired Navy SEAL Edward Rasmussen discusses his TBI, and urges others to seek treatment if they have symptoms. If you’re experiencing symptoms of TBI, visit health.mil/TBI to learn about the resources available to you.

Recommended Content:

Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Traumatic Brain Injury

BIAM Caregivers

Infographic
2/17/2022
BIAM Caregivers

#DYK? Family support helps TBI recovery? Learn how to support your loved one here: https://www.health.mil/News/Articles/2021/07/22/Caregiver-Guide-supports-service-members-and-veterans-with-TBI #BeTBIReady #BIAMonth

Recommended Content:

Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury

BIAM TBI 3

Infographic
2/17/2022
BIAM TBI 3

#DYK Symptoms of TBI aren’t just physical? Severe TBIs can increase the risk for mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression. Learn more: https://www.health.mil/Military-Health-Topics/Centers-of-Excellence/Traumatic-Brain-Injury-Center-of-Excellence/Patient-and-Family-Resources #BeTBIReady

Recommended Content:

Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury

Brain Injury Awareness Month 1

Infographic
2/17/2022
Brain Injury Awareness Month 1

Even a mild traumatic brain injury can impact mission readiness and the ability to deploy. #BeTBIReady by understanding the signs and symptoms of TBI, and knowing when to seek care. Thanks to innovations across the Military Health System, TBI is treatable & recovery is possible. www.Health.mil/BIAMonth #BIAMonth #BeTBIReady

Recommended Content:

Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury

BIAM TBI

Infographic
2/17/2022
BIAM TBI

#DYK Most TBIs don’t occur while deployed? TBIs typically result from activities like sports, falls, or car accidents. Wearing protective gear is one way you can minimize your risk of TBI. #BeTBIReady https://www.health.mil/tbi

Recommended Content:

Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury

BIAM Call to Action

Infographic
2/17/2022
BIAM Call to Action

#PSA! Don’t forget your protective gear! Most TBIs do not occur in combat. They are usually caused by everyday activities like sports, training, or a car accident. You can minimize the risk of TBI by wearing protective gear. www.health.mil/BIAMonth #BeTBIReady #BIAMonth

Recommended Content:

Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury

Brain Injury Awareness Month Banner

Infographic
2/17/2022
Brain Injury Awareness Month Banner

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. Traumatic brain injuries are a key health concern for the military community. Thanks to innovations across the Military Health System, we are improving quality of life for TBI patients & their families. This month, we will share stories, tips, and resources for TBI prevention and recovery. www.health.mil/BIAMonth #BeTBIReady #BIAMonth

Recommended Content:

Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury

BIAM Vision and Hearing

Infographic
2/17/2022
BIAM Vision and Hearing

Vision and hearing are vital senses for effective communication and situational awareness. To defend yourself against injury and maintain mission readiness, wear the proper vision and hearing protection while on and off duty. Find the latest vision and hearing protection recommendations here: • Vision: https://vce.health.mil/Eye-Injury-Prevention-and-Response/Eye-Protection • Hearing: https://hearing.health.mil/Prevention/Evaluated-Hearing-Protection-Devices #BIAMonth #BeTBIReady

Recommended Content:

Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention

BIAM Heads Up

Infographic
2/17/2022
BIAM Heads Up

Head injuries, especially from a blast, have become one of the most common combat-related injuries among deployed service members. Typical head injury symptoms are: trouble hearing speech in noisy settings, ringing or other sounds in your ears or head, or dizziness when you move your head while walking or bending down. Talk to your doctor if you have any of these symptoms. For more about TBI and hearing loss, visit: https://hearing.health.mil/Resources/Education/Conditions-and-Concerns/TBI-and-Hearing-Loss #BIAMonth #BeTBIReady

Recommended Content:

Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 16 - 30 Page 2 of 17
Refine your search
Last Updated: October 08, 2020

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.