Choosing which college or university to attend is never easy. Cost, travel, and for the student athletes the scholarship offer and amount of playing time, are all factors in deciding which school to attend. If your student athlete is thinking about going to the University of Florida, you may also want to consider the clinical trial underway at the University of Florida to look for biomarkers for concussions. Alachua, Florida based Banyan Biomarkers started a clinical trial in September 2011 which runs to April 2015. 

The two primary factors for participating in the study are the student must be over the age of 18 and study at the University of Florida. The study will take athletes that are likely to receive concussions and monitor them for changes over a 36 month period to see what changes occur in biomarkers associated with traumatic brain injury. 

A biomarker, or biological marker, is an indicator of a biological state, or the past or present existence of a particular type of organism. If you have a concussion, your body produces chemicals in response to that injury. The presence and concentration of certain molecules, or measured activity such as electrical activity in the brain, provide biomarkers that can be identified and measured. Some of the more colorful and illustrative terms used to describe molecular biomarkers are "signature molecules" and "fingerprint molecules."

A clinical trial starts with some preliminary laboratory evidence. At this time we do not know the specific proof, but Banyan Biomarkers believes its laboratory research shows it can accurately detect changes in proteins following a concussion. Its next step is to validate those lab tests with field tests of a variety of athletes under different circumstances to confirm, or disprove, its lab research. The clinical trial starts with you being a University of Florida student athlete, Banyan Biomarkers may enroll you in the program, which will include blood samples and evaluations during the off-season, practice and games. Plasma and serum will be extracted from the blood and stored for later evaluation. 

The production of proteins during the off-season, practice and games will be compared to determine what differences exist, and to prove whether Banyan Biomarker's diagnostic test is accurate. Banyan will likely keep the students' plasma and serum from the study in order to run future biomarker tests or to validate tests.

Click here for contact information concerning the biomarker program.


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