Traumatic brain injuries can be extremely difficult to treat. Some of the new treatment options for traumatic brain injury include: omega-3 fatty acids, artificial blood and progesterone.
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Hi, I am Marcy Newsome with the Brain & Spinal Cord Injury Center at brainandspinalcord.org. Today, I will be talking about some of the latest developments in traumatic brain injury treatment. Be sure to check the website for all relevant links and a recap of this article. There have been developments likely in the way brain injuries can be treated. First are those treatments used during the acute care phase and second are the treatments used after the acute care phase. We will discuss both types starting with those that can be used during the acute phase. The first stage occurs immediately following injury until the patient is stable. Here, the main goal of treatment is to help prevent secondary injury from loss of blood flow and swelling to the brain. Three treatments used during the acute care stage are; (1) Omega-3 fatty acids, (2) Artificial blood and (3) Progesterone. Following a traumatic brain injury, the brain often has a diminished ability to cope with additional injury and in many cases cognitive ability is affected. It is thought that some of this compromise function is caused by reduced metabolic energy, but new development show that a dietary supplement of omega-3 fatty acids counteract some of the effects of traumatic brain injury by improving the energy status of cells. Another treatment shown to have excellent results during the acute phase is artificial blood. In order to understand why this works, you must first understand that a continual flow of blood and oxygen ensures that brain cells stay alive. In many cases immediately following traumatic brain injury, the flow of blood and oxygen is compromised causing brain to die within hours, but an artificial blood called oxycyte carries four times the oxygen level of real red blood cells to brain tissue that has suffered traumatic injury. Human trials are currently underway at the University of Miami, School of Medicine. Specialists think these studies will prove that artificial blood interrupts cell death immediately following brain injury and thus prevents more severe disabilities. Preliminary studies are also showing that progesterone, a female hormone used in a contraceptive pill, may also be an effective way to minimize the effects of traumatic brain injury while its newer protective elements are not completely understood. A group of Chinese researchers have shown that neurologic outcomes of brain-injured patients can be improved with progesterone. Some recent developments and traumatic brain injury treatment are designed to be used after the acute stage. Two of these treatments are cognitive rehabilitation and infrared laser treatment. Cognitive rehabilitation is an individualized treatment plan that focuses on the patient’s unique issues and problems. The therapy which is designed to reduce as much as the effects of the injury as possible may include a combination of occupational therapy, speech therapy, organizational therapy, and hand and eye coordination while the brain is not technically healed during cognitive rehabilitation, it does learn how to compensate of the injury. Infrared laser treatment is done via a hand-held device that emits high-intensity infrared energy to the brain when held to the patient’s head. The idea behind this therapy is that the infrared energy will supply energy power to the cells, which will help them resume function. Researchers in North Carolina are currently studying the effects of infrared laser treatment to more formerly determined potential results. This concludes our segment on the latest development and traumatic brain injury treatment. For more information about these developments in brain injury treatments or to read more about this topic, visit our website at brainandspinalcord.org and thank you for watching.
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