After the initial physical recover from trauma and the scars and bruises are healing, there is nothing more devastating than realizing your brain does not work like it did before your injury. The almost total isolation from people who care but can’t understand is gut wrenching. Realizing you can’t remember names, faces, incidents or where you put things just moments ago or experiencing the panic of “I’m not going to get better”
As you know from my previous articles, brain injuries are one of the most bitter experiences from a crash or an injury incident. I help my clients get the best recovery they can get. The problem is no health care provider has a band-aid, cast, pill, shot or other therapy for your brain. It’s just going to get as well as it can get. That takes usually about 24 months until you don’t get any better from brain trauma injury.
However, now there’s little hope. Researchers at the University of California San Francisco have found the drug called “ISRIB” which helps mice who have had induced brain trauma recover memory and brain function.
The results are reported in a Washington Post reports article July 11, 2017. The new drug shows promising results to restore memories in brain damage in mice. Of course these are only clinical trials on animals (mice) with brains significantly dissimilar to human brains.
The results with the drug are exciting to the team of researchers. Viewed from the outside of the University and research team, the results with the brain injured mice are impressive. A professor at the University of South Florida was interviewed by the Washington Post. Here’s an excerpt: “Cesario Borlongan, distinguished professor of neurosurgery at the University of Southern (sic) Florida, noted three reasons ISRIB might be more likely to be effective than previous trials for people. Because it is a small molecule and can cross the blood-brain barrier, the drug would likely not have to be injected directly into the brain. And the fact that treatment with ISRIB is still effective weeks after injury gives it an advantage over drugs that
were used in mouse models immediately following the trauma, Borlongan said. Most importantly, ISRIB worked in two different types of brain injury.” Another noted scientist, Geoffrey Manley, chief of neurosurgery at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, (not involved with the research) called the results “very exciting.” He sees dozens of traumatic brain injuries in his practice on a weekly basis.
There are two different types of brain injury: focal and concussive. Focal Injuries occur at a specific spot in the brain where someone is hit in their skull at a specific area like with a baseball or other projectile. The second type of injury is called concussive injuries these are the injuries that are more diffuse across the brain, the so-called DAI which stands for “diffuse axonal injury.” This latter type is the more insidious of the two types. DAI injuries
occur when somebody has a fall and hits their head over a wide portion of the skull (being thrown off a bicycle and landing on your head – helmet or no helmet ) or in the “contracoupe” injury such as when the motor vehicle crash causes your skull to go forward and backwards hitting either the head rest or the steering wheel/dashboard.
In the research the scientists tested the new drug on both types of these brain injuries. It worked on both amazingly well too.
The good thing about this is this drug was discovered as a result of pure science. the researchers had originally set out to find a drug which would inhibit a stress response and yeast to use that drug to inhibit cancer cells. Coincidentally this response had been linked to brain inflammation which is what traumatic brain injury really is. For the researchers to discover this traumatic brain injury therapy while looking for a cancer inhibitor is what pure science is all about.
Many of the “exciting new drugs” pharmaceutical companies are constantly advertising to the public are nothing more than rehashed old drugs which have (as you have seen from seeing this commercial) a whole host of frightening and scary side effects. The encouraging results are doubly exciting because no big pharmaceutical company is twisting the data to make it look better and exaggerate the benefits of the drug to increase its stock price for profit.
Clinical trials on humans are not scheduled yet. Most likely there is much more research to be done. Just the startling results should encourage all my clients to keep up hope. The know TBI is a major cause of death and disability in the United States and contributes to about 30% of all injury deaths. Every day, 153 people in the United States die from injuries that include TBI. Those who survive a TBI can face effects that last a few days, or
the rest of their lives. The effects of TBI can include impaired thinking or memory, movement, deficits in vision or hearing, or personality changes, depression. These issues not only affect individuals but can have lasting effects on families and communities as my clients and their families know.
News of this research is certainly welcome. Any one of my clients suffering from a traumatic brain injury can tell you how much they would like to return to normal. Hopefully soon, that will become a reality. Since my practice centers on helping people recover from traumatic brain injuries, this will be another way to help my clients.
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