Research leads to possible new treatment for brain injuries

Over the past couple years, scientists and safety experts have increased efforts to learn about the causes of traumatic brain injuries. While many people may think that these sorts of injuries are confined to the football field, the reality is that they are far more common than most people realize. Indeed, experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that approximately two million people in the U.S. suffer TBIs each year. Most of these occur in car accidents and falls.

Although these injuries are common, doctors still have few options for treatment. Fortunately, however, researchers are continually making discoveries that could one day help those who have suffered TBIs to heal and recover more quickly.

Recently, Professor James Lechleiter at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio received a patent on a class of chemicals that may lead to new drugs. These compounds, known as purinergic receptor ligands, appear to protect neurons and prevent neuronal damage after a TBI.

So far, discussions of the effect of these compounds on animals have been published in scientific journals. An upcoming article, however, presents the findings of a study conducted on human TBI patients.

Dr. Lechleiter discovered that purinergic receptor ligands help certain helper cells in the brain, known as astrocytes, prevent swelling in the brain after injury. In many cases, TBI patients suffer the most significant damage when their brains swell to the point where it begins to damage tissue. Finding a way to help the body prevent swelling is key to both reducing recovery time for TBI patients and improving possible outcomes.

Currently, Dr. Lechleiter's team is working to complete the necessary studies to begin Phase I clinical trials, where the efficacy of the treatment will be studied in humans. Although years of work are likely needed to determine whether treatment with these compounds is a viable option for humans, initial research has yielded promising results.

If you have suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car crash or in an accident at work, consider speaking to a personal injury attorney. Unfortunately, recovery from a TBI can take time and, in many cases, requires expensive medical treatment. A personal injury attorney can determine whether you have a case and can help you receive compensation for your medical bills and pain and suffering. If you have been injured, do not delay: speak to a personal injury attorney today.