Advanced treatments for brain injuries from Texas researchers
Brain injuries can be one of the most difficult medical procedures to treat, that some doctors may find it challenging to treat. From professional football players, soldiers, motorist and homeowners may face the dangers to brain injuries. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 50,000 Americans die every year from brain trauma and almost 300,000 Americans are hospitalized for nonfatal brain injuries.
Traumatic brain injuries have reached a peak high since the early weeks of 2014, part of it is the growing headlines of NFL players lawsuits against the league in the growing amount of brain injuries the players face during their careers.
While brain injuries have been stirring a controversy, successful researches for brain injury treatments have been making small, but encouraging breakthroughs. One of the latest advanced treatments for brain injuries has come from Texas lab facilities, that could protect brain injury patients through medical treatments from the immediate aftermath of the injury.
Traumatic brain injuries usually occur when a heavy blow is done to the head, but not all harm is done upon the impact itself, but from the subsequent swelling afterwards following the blow, that causes trauma to the head that would cause further damages to the brain.
Dr. James Lechleiter of the UT Health Science Center San Antonio says that, "One of the greatest injuries after a trauma is actually increased swelling -- brain edema... And so it turns out that the astrocyte is a very important cell type to control that cell swelling."
The astrocyte cells are at the center of Dr. Lechleiter's research. In fact, he has just been awarded a patent for a class of compounds designed to stimulate astrocytes into functioning at a higher capacity, doing more to protect healthy neurons in the wake of an injury.
While the newly patented compounds cannot restore dead cells, they do appear to stem further injury when administered quickly after a trauma. The next step is a phase of clinical trials to ensure that the compounds serve their function without producing undesirable side effects.
However, paying for the brain injury treatment may be the cost of legal action. Many of the long-term effects of brain injury are actually caused by the swelling, instead of the trauma to the head, but a research breakthrough from Dr. Lechleiter could provide much more help to brain injury victims after car accidents or any traumatic events.
Source: Digital Journal, "18-Wheeler Jackknifes Within Feet of Reporter, Emergency Crews," Staff, January 29, 2014