It is the million-dollar goal in traumatic brain injury (TBI) research: finding an actual treatment option to treat a TBI. As we have often discussed, with the brain remaining so mysterious, it is currently next to impossible to do anything about a TBI other than deal with the consequences as much as possible. Rehabilitation and therapy are the main tools available to TBI sufferers to get their lives back together after an accident.
Researchers have been working very hard to break through with actual treatment options that can minimize brain damage after the initial incident. If successful, these advances would be truly revolutionary, preventing significant deterioration and greatly improving the lives of those hurt in car accidents, falls, and many other incidents that frequently cause TBI.
Are Hormones the Answer?
According to recent reports, hormones may prove critical in TBI treatment. An ABC Local story discussed one new research project which may be the first step in developing an effective brain injury treatment.
The research was conducted via part of a clinical trial called SyNAPSe. It stands for a mouthful of a phrase– the Study of the Neuroprotective Activity of Progesterone in Severe Traumatic Brain Injuries. As the name implies, the trial is targeted at the hormone progesterone, which is naturally produced by the human body. Uniquely the hormone is most well known for its role in pregnancy, however, both men and women actually produce it.
The hope is that progesterone may reduced brain damage following a severe traumatic head injury. When given to patients within eight hours of the injury and “infused” for five days the idea is that it will reduce swelling, minimize damage and prove helpful to patients. In theory it may both prevent deaths as well as minimize both short and long-term damage and disability.
The project is still on-going, and so it is far too early to make any definitive statements about its efficacy. All told this research project is unfolding on a global scale. The report notes that at least 21 countries are participating. More than 150 individual hospitals are involved, with the goal of giving the drug to at least 1,100 TBI patients and measuring the results.
Even though it is still early, one researcher involved with the project explained, “There is good evidence that it reduces inflammation.”
The reason that progesterone was targeted in the first place is for its ability to rebuild the “blood-brain barrier.” In so doing it can decrease cell damage and minimize swelling.
Researchers note that the study will only truly have effective data when the patients participating reach the six month mark. It is notoriously difficult to make predictions about the actual damage to the brain until a significant length of time has passed. Until swelling goes down and a patient is able to being functioning, all assessments are just estimates.
As always, our team of brain injury lawyers will be following the research developments closely in hopes that the findings will prove useful to Chicago TBI victims in the future.
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