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Genes may help determine an individual's post-brain injury care

When someone in Montclair suffers a brain injury, it is often a while before the doctors can tell if the individual will be able to recover, or if he or she will have some permanent damage. Even then, doctors may not know just how much the individual will be affected by his or her injuries. It is only a matter of time before physicians will know if the patient can return to work or if he or she should apply for disability benefits.

A recent stduy, however, may provide greater clarity into how well or poorly a person will recover from a brain injury. According to researchers, if a person has the amino acid methionine incorporated into his or her brain-derived neurotrophic factor protein, he or she stands a better chance of recovering than if he or she has the amino acid valine as part of the protein. Researchers are not yet sure why one allele is better at repairing the brain following an injury than the other, but they think it could help direct how brain injury patients recover.

The belief is that when someone is admitted with a traumatic brain injury, a physician could test the patient's blood in order to see if he or she is a methionine or a valine allele. If he or she has a valine allele, he or she would need more resources and attention for recovery than someone with a methionine allele.

One of those resources just might be Social Security disability benefits.

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

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