Patients in Nevada and elsewhere may soon have access to a promising new treatment that could reduce brain damage that occurs after traumatic brain injuries. The treatment was developed by a team of researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.
Each year, nearly 3 million Americans suffer a traumatic brain injury, or TBI, which is caused by a blow, bump, jolt or penetrative injury to the head. TBIs can cause inflammation and abnormal electrical activity in the brain and break down the body's critical blood-brain barrier. This can cause a variety of symptoms, including memory loss, loss of balance and coordination, changes in speech, muscle weakness, personality changes and seizures. There is currently no treatment for TBI.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, found that TBI-related brain damage can be prevented in mice by regulating the brain's neuronal excitability levels. After suffering a TBI, the brain's neurons experience hyperexcitability. However, researchers were able to circumvent this process by boosting the brain's "M-type" KCNQ potassium ion proteins, which have the ability to stop abnormal electrical activity in nerve cells. The treatment prevented seizures in mice with TBIs, and it could become a breakthrough treatment for human TBI patients as well. In addition, it could help patients suffering from other types of seizure disorders.
Traumatic brain injuries often cause long-term medical health issues, including memory problems and degenerative brain disorders. When a brain injury is caused by a car or motorcycle accident, contact sports or even an assault, the victim has a right to file a personal injury lawsuit seeking compensation for damages. If the claim is successful, it could lead to a settlement that pays for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other injury-related losses.