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Preventing Brain Damage After a Brain Insult

Sep 5, 2008
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is actually a major cause of disability and death in the world. It is a leading killer of people who are beneath the age of 45. The major causes of TBI include violence, falls, sports injuries and motor vehicle accidents. People can often prevent accidents when the proper safety precautions are taken. Traumatic brain injury can be devastating for those who have to undergo it. Those who have damage to their brain can have a range of negative side effects that can have a large impact on their lives. Currently there are few if any pharmacological treatments for traumatic brain injury.

Science, though, is working towards having better treatments that may be able to reduce damage to the brain that occurs immediately after an injury. Scientists may have discovered a new method of treating brain injury. Researchers have been using a polymer called polyethylene glycol to reduce brain damage in animals. Polyethylene glycol (PEG; 2000 MW, 30% by volume) has actually been shown to repair mechanically damaged cellular membranes in the brain. PEG can also reduce secondary axotomy when an animal has sustained a spinal cord injury or traumatic brain insult. Basically this means that fewer brain cells will be killed off after undergoing a brain insult. This would be of enormous help to many accident victims.

For this particular project, the scientists basically injected the polyethylene glycol into the animals brains after they sustained a traumatic brain insult. This injection enabled the researchers to reduce the severity of damage to the animals brain. The repair is achieved because there is a spontaneous assembly of the cell membranes of the brain cell neuron. PEG is a hydrophilic polymer which is able to seal damaged portions of the neuron.

The evidence indicated that if PEG is delivered to victims of traumatic brain injury immediately after an insult, it can improve patient outcomes. The researchers are continuing the research by doing a veterinary clinical study of PEG on canines suffering from head injury.

This technique may eventually find use among humans who have undergone a brain insult. It could go a long way in reducing the amount of damage that is due to having a traumatic brain injuries. Science is currently progressing towards being able to minimize brain damage and also repairing that brain damage as well. This could certainly a huge boon for the thousands of Americans who sustain these injuries every year.
About the Author
For more information see my blog MRI brain and another article deep brain stimulation dbs and this article diagram of the brain .
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