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Traumatic Brain Injury: New Study Offers Hope

A new study indicates that a drug combination therapy may help patients with traumatic brain injuries.

Bloomberg Business Week reports that the therapy combines a synthetic derivative of an amino acid with a derivative of the antibiotic tetracycline. Rats tested with the combination showed significant improvement in memory and reasoning, according to research by the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center.

There are currently no drugs to effectively heal or mitigate traumatic brain injury (TBI).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1.7 million Americans suffer TBI annually. Of those, about 275,000 require hospitalization; about 52,000 victims of TBI die each year.

  • Children four years old and under, teens from 15 to 19 years of age, and adults 65 and older are most likely to receive a traumatic brain injury diagnosis
  • Approximately half a million emergency room visits for traumatic brain injury involve children aged 14 and under
  • Adults 75 years old and above are at greatest risk of TBI-related hospitalization or death

Many cases of TBI are easily diagnosed because the open wounds are self-evident. These wounds characteristically involve sharp objects or bullets with lacerations and skull fractures.

The more difficult to diagnose TBI is known as a closed injury, typically after the head has been struck or when it strikes an object, or is violently shaken, causing sudden brain acceleration and deceleration. These severe injuries are often caused in car accidents.

The CDC stresses that appropriate diagnosis and treatment of traumatic brain injuries are critical to help a patient achieve the best possible recovery and to avoid major adverse outcomes.

Physicians must be current on clinical tools and procedures for proper diagnosis of TBI. Too often, symptoms of TBI such as dizziness, confusion, headaches and nausea are mistaken for symptoms of other health issues far less serious.

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