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Blood Test Shows Concussion Injury

A nurse draws a blood sample for a free HIV test during a blood tests party as part of a campaign to prevent HIV infection among male same-sex couples, in Bangkok September 20, 2014. Bare-chested male models strutted through the glitzy ballroom in Bangkok to the beat of house music while dozens of young gay men waited anxiously, working up the nerve to have a blood test. The mostly female health team taking samples seemed incongruous next to the shirtless models circling the party, but the health workers' presence at the TestBKK event, Thailand's first mass HIV testing for gays, was sending a powerful message. (September 2014)
Blood Test Shows When a Person Has a Concussion
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A new blood test can tell doctors whether a person has suffered a concussion up to a week after he or she was injured.

A study describing the test was published in the journal JAMA Neurology.

People who suffer a head injury should rest soon after they are hurt. Doctors say rest is important in helping the brain to heal after the injury.

Individuals who have suffered a concussion do not always show symptoms. Experts say those warning signs can be delayed, especially in children.

A concussion can lead to a feeling of dizziness, headaches and an inability to sleep. These problems can exist for a long time.

Some concussion patients have experienced loss of memory, trouble thinking and feelings of anxiety.

Doctors at Orlando Health System in Florida developed the new blood test. It shows if a biomarker is present in a person’s blood.

The biomarker is called glial fibrillary acidic protein, or GFAP. The protein is only found in the brain and nervous system after a person suffers a concussion.

Researchers examined the blood of 600 patients. They found the biomarker in the blood of those who had suffered a head injury.

Concussion is a common injury in contact sports. A blood test soon after a head injury could show if an athlete has suffered a concussion. Without the test, sports team officials may not know whether the player has a concussion and could return him or her to the game.

I’m Christopher Jones-Cruise.

VOA’s Jessica Berman reported this story for Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

concussion – n. an injury to the brain that is caused by something hitting the head very hard

symptom – n. a change in the body or mind which indicates that a disease is present

dizziness – n. the act of being dizzy -- feeling that you are turning around in circles and are going to fall even though you are standing still

anxiety - n. fear or nervousness about what might happen