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Human hormone study could lead to first treatment for brain injury victims

| Sep 24, 2014 | Personal Injury

Traumatic brain injuries are considered to be some of the most devastating injuries a person can obtain because of their far-reaching consequences and doctors’ general inability to directly treat the condition. However, ABC News reports that a new clinical trial is currently underway in which doctors are studying the effects of progesterone on TBI patients. The human hormone is commonly found in both men and women, but is usually associated with pregnancy. Doctors believe that when given at the right time, it may be able to stop and reverse the swelling in the brain associated with TBI.

The study

The Study of the Neuroprotective Activity of Progesterone in Severe Traumatic Brain Injuries, or SyNAPSe for short, aims to determine how progesterone can help TBI patients. In order to be effective, the hormone must be given to the patient no later than eight hours after the brain injury occurs. For five days, the patient receives an infusion of the drug directly in their brain.

The trial is taking place at over 150 sites across 21 countries, and researchers hope to engage more than 1,100 TBI patients over time. When reviewing the first 200 study participants, researchers found no indications that progesterone given in these doses or for this length of time was harmful or contraindicated in any patients.

How the progesterone works

Doctors state that there is clear clinical evidence that progesterone reduces inflammation after serious injury and they hope it can mimic that success when the inflammation occurs in the brain. They also believe that initial research indicates that it can help rebuild the blood-brain barrier that is often injured in a TBI-inducing accident as well. It may also decrease the swelling seen directly in injured brain tissue, which would otherwise have a severe impact on a patient’s life if left untreated. If the trials are successful, doctors will have the first drug with the potential for reducing mortality and improving short- and long-term disability associated with TBIs.

A common occurrence

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car accidents are the third overall cause of TBI in patients of all ages. When considering only TBI-related deaths, TBIs that result from motor vehicle accidents were the second most common cause of death. From 2001 to 2010, TBI rates have soared, increasing by 70 percent. Death rates, however, have decreased by seven percent in the same time period, so patients are living through these injuries more often. Living with a brain injury can be difficult and costly. Those who have suffered a traumatic brain injury as the result of an accident should contact a Chicago attorney to discuss their matter and seek the compensation they need.