Doctors hopeful of new treatment for brain injuries

Accidents that result in brain injuries can have severe and long-lasting effects. Serious brain injuries can render those they affect unable to walk, talk or perform everyday tasks. Even less serious brain injuries can impact an individual's memory and personality.

Because of the complexity of the human brain and wide variance in brain injury symptoms, no treatment has been deemed universally effective. Medical researchers are hopeful, however, that the use of the naturally-occurring hormone progesterone may be effective in the treatment of brain injuries.

A trail clinical study is currently underway in which some participants are being injected with the hormone progesterone. All individual participants in the study have suffered some degree of brain damage. The study is double blind meaning that while some participants are receiving the injections of progesterone, others are being injected with a safe placebo substance.

Doctors are hopeful that the study will produce results that will prove the use of progesterone is effective in treating brain injuries. A naturally-occurring hormone that is produced in women's ovaries as well as in men's adrenal glands, progesterone works by decreasing inflammation and swelling.

The study is currently in phase III and participants have no idea whether they are receiving progesterone or the placebo. One participant, a 21-year-old man who sustained a brain injury as a result of a car accident, is hopeful. Despite a bleak prognosis in which doctors originally told him they did not believe he would regain the ability to walk or talk, the man is doing remarkably well.

Researchers hope to complete the study and publish their findings some time during 2013. Doctors and participants are hopeful the results will prove that progesterone is indeed an effective treatment for brain injuries. If so, the use of progesterone may be sanctioned by the Federal Drug Administration.

Source: KDKA, "Doctors Study Use Of Progesterone In Treating Brain Injuries," Dr. Maria Simbra, Aug. 9, 2012

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Most people who have had a significant brain injury will require rehabilitation. They may need to relearn basic skills, such as walking or talking. The individual who sustains a brain injury and his or her family are the most important members of the treatment team. There are several types of medications used to treat brain injury. Moderately to severely injured patients receive rehabilitation that involves individually tailored treatment programs.

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