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Boston Firm Develops Blood Test For Early Detection Of Concussions

Updated on December 14, 2015

Last month, lawyers for former NFL players appealed before a judge to reject a $1 billion settlement to address concussions on the grounds it excludes chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which reportedly affects a shocking 96 percent of them.

While a cure for CTE hasn't been found, the next best thing is early detection. Boston-based Quanterix has developed a blood-test technology that can identify concussions just after they occur.

"We take a blood sample, ship it to a laboratory, and 40 minutes later, you have your answer," said CEO Kevin Hrusovsky.

About seven years ago, the Department of Defense and the National Institute of Health (NIH) initially coordinated their efforts to try to help 400,000 veterans who were concussed from bomb-blast trauma during the Iraq War. Later, the NFL became interested in the findings.

The NFL has already awarded Quanterix $800,000 to develop affordable machines that Hrusovsky hopes can eventualy sit on the sidelines of colleges and high schools as well as the NFL. "Our goal is to have them cost less than $10,000 and have an app on your phone for them as well," said Hrusovsky.

Although some have questioned whether the NFL is serious about addressing the issue, Hrusovsky said, "I don't have that concern. They are giving us money to try and solve this."

The upcoming Christmas movie "Concussions," starring Will Smith, will also shed a negative light on the league regarding its intentions. In addition, a recent "60 Minutes" segment also raised questions despite numerous assertions by Commissioner Roger Goodell that player safety was paramount.

Regardless of what happens in the courts, it's clear that high-grade technology to detect and treat concussions will continue to be at the forefront of modern medicine.

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