Abbott (ABT) has partnered with the US Department of Defense (DoD) to develop portable blood tests for the evaluation of potential concussions.
As part of a multiphased approach, the team will develop tests for Abbott's i-STAT System, a handheld, diagnostic analyser currently used for other point-of-care testing, including among military service members.
The development of new tests is expected to enable physicians to use the information to positively impact the care of people with a suspected concussion, also called mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command Brain Health Coordinator colonel Dallas Hack said: "The quick and accurate diagnosis of a concussion is critical so that soldiers who are affected, whether on the battlefield or not, can be removed from duty to recover and to prevent further injury.
"The Department of Defense collaboration with Abbott represents a major initiative to help improve efforts to understand this complex injury and care for wounded warriors suffering from this condition."
Abbott Diagnostics medical director and a board certified neurologist Dr Beth McQuiston, said: "The collaboration between Abbott and the Department of Defense is an important step in ensuring that military service members, and ultimately civilians, receive proper evaluation.
"These new tests could open the door to many possibilities for evaluating concussions and helping clinicians optimise care and outcomes."
Research data has shown that detection of a mild TBI is difficult as imaging technology may not exhibit abnormalities and symptoms can be similar to or mistaken for other medical conditions.
Caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain, TBI is classified from mild to severe based on the seriousness of injury, and is common among US military service members.
Since 2000, more than 300,000 military personnel have been diagnosed with TBIs worldwide, according to the DoD.
Nearly 84% of the TBIs in the military are believed to be caused by training, accidents, illness and non-combat assignments.
Image: A US soldier demonstrates a general balance test during a Brain Injury Awareness Open House at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, US. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force Tech. Sgt Michael Holzworth, Defense Media Activity.