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A drug used to reduce blood sugar levels in diabetes sufferers has been found to significantly decrease the effects of a traumatic brain injury, recent research reveals.
The study, which was carried out jointly between leading Traumatic Brain Injury scientist, Professor Chaim Pick from the Israeli University of Tel Aviv and US scientist, Dr. Neil Grieg, discovered that animals used in the experiment, suffered severe impaired brain function when exposed to an explosion.
Explosions, for example, those endured in a terrorist attack, cause TBIs (traumatic brain injuries) in individuals by initiating pressure in the brain causing the fluid inside to shake and cause permanent damage to the structure of the brain.
Mice that were administered the diabetes drug, Extendin-4, one hour after the test explosion had the same brain functionality as the mice that had no contact with the blast. The test appears to prove that the results of this drug significantly reduce the long-term effects of a brain injury.
Mortality figures in traumatic brain injury victims are not colossal but because a TBI causes irreversible chemical changes in the brain, it means that the consequences of brain functionality are prolonged. Coupled with the impact of mental ability, behaviour and personality, treatment of TBIs can be expensive. The advent of this new drug could change that significantly if the drug is given in the correct time period following an injury to the brain.
Prof. Pick said: “We are moving in the right direction. Now we need to find the right dosage and delivery system, then build a cocktail of drugs that will increase the therapeutic value of this concept.”
Originally designed to control sugar levels in the body, the drug has recently been found effective in protecting neurons in disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
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Published 11th February 2015.