Friday, February 24, 2012

Promising Treatment for Traumatic Brain Injury

Reported February 20, 2012

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- A new study performed on rats shows promise in helping fight against the harmful effects of traumatic brain injury. 

Traumatic brain injury causes a decrease in blood flow in the cerebrum of the brain.  If blood flow is prolonged, it could lead to death or permanent cell dysfunction.  The endothelin receptor A (ETrA), a receptor in the brain, contributes to the decrease of blood flow as early as four hours after the injury on the brain occurs.  A new drug, called clazosentan, is thought to specifically block these receptors.

"There are currently no primary treatments for TBI, so this research provides hope that effective treatments can be developed," study author Michael Kaufman, a medical student at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, was quoted as saying.
First, researchers gave rats that had brain injuries the clazosentan drug through an IV line at various points after injuries.  Then they measured the rat's blood flow in the sensory motor cortex and hippocampus with an MRI brain scan and tested their behavior in learning a maze.  The study found that the drug decreased the effects of brain injury on blood flow to the hippocampus by 25 percent at four hours and 23 percent at 48 hours after injury.
The drug was most effective when given at two hours post-injury and again at 24 hours after the trauma and the rats performed better on the maze test.  However, when the rats were given the drug at 12 hours after injury, some improved, some got worse, and some remained the same.
"This research is the foundation for future clinical trials that will investigate the possibilities of using clazosentan in the treatment of TBI," Michael Kaufman was quoted as saying.

Source:  American Academy of Neurology’s 64th Annual Meeting, February 2012

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