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A single gene may predict a person's recovery from TBI

While it is well-settled that the diagnosis on how to treat a person who has suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) depends on the severity of the injury and the person’s subsequent symptoms. In essence, a person can suffer several different grades of concussions and be treated differently.

However, the way a person recovers from such an injury can be vastly different. For instance, a baseball player who suffers a concussion from being hit in the head may have a different road of recovery compared to a person who has been in a car accident. Also, new research suggests that a single gene may predict how well a person may recover from such an injury

Researchers from the University of Illinois studied the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene and how it played a role in recovering from TBI. Since the function of BDNF is a basic part of the formation of new neurons, and thus recovery from brain injuries, they wanted to measure how it works in different people.

Each BDNF gene has two polymorphisms, which can be manifested in several different combinations. The researchers found that a single polymorphism within the gene accounted for differences in cognitive functions. If an injured person has a particular combination of polymorphisms, he or she may be more sensitive to TBI than another person with a different combination.

This research can be particularly instructive in helping insurers and juries in Arizona understand why a person is unable to recover from a serious head injury, or is less likely to have the same functions that they had prior to the injury. 

Source: “Differences in a single gene may influence recovery from traumatic brain injury,” Loren Grush, Feb. 27, 2014

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