The bad news about brain injuries has just kept coming in recent years. Studies now link brain injuries to seizures, to the development of epilepsy and to an increased risk of dementia. Even a simple concussion has been found to cause a fundamental change to the brain that can still be observed months after the injury.
With so many troubling discoveries regarding brain injuries, the new research coming out of University of California Berkeley is more than welcome. Researchers have discovered reasons why as many as 50 percent of people with brain trauma are at risk of developing epilepsy and work is now underway to develop an emergency drug to prevent this type of serious and lasting damage from brain trauma.
While research could provide new hope for those who experience brain injuries in car accidents, fall injuries and sports incidents, the research is in the preliminary stages and the research team is not yet sure if new drugs will end up helping to reduce the significant epilepsy risk. Until a solution is developed to prevent this serious complication associated with brain injury, victims are still at risk. Those who suffer brain injury due to negligence or wrongdoing of a third party should consult with a Boston personal injury lawyer for help in pursuing a damage claim that provides compensation for all consequences of the brain injury.
Development of Brain Injury Drugs
The reason for the link between brain trauma and epilepsy has become clear: a protein called albumin is the problem. Albumin is produced by the liver and it transports proteins throughout the body. It is essential to healthy blood, and is the most abundant protein within the blood.
Unfortunately, when a brain injury occurs and the blood-brain barrier is compromised, the extra albumin can enter the brain and speed up signaling between the neurons. Overexcited neurons will, in turn, lead to seizures and the potential development of epilepsy.
Car accidents, sporting accidents and falls commonly result in brain injuries that break the blood-brain barrier. There is currently no way to determine which of the accident victims who seek treatment for brain injury will end up developing epilepsy, but estimates suggest that there is anywhere from a 10 to 50 percent chance of seizures in people who sustain a head injury.
When patients do develop epilepsy, it is the traumatic brain injury that is least responsive to drug therapy. Unfortunately, the result is that a car accident or other similar incident can leave the victim at risk of seizures for life.
Researchers could solve this if they can develop an emergency therapy to administer to head injury patients. The Berkeley researchers are considering basing their drug on prescription medications that treat high blood pressure and block TGF-beta receptors from signaling. Since albumin interacts with a TGF-beta receptor to damage the brain, the blood pressure drug could potentially help to fight the neuron-stimulating effects of excess albumin in the brain.
An MRI can determine whether the blood-brain barrier has been breached when a head injury occurs. This means ER doctors could some day be able to test accident victims and administer a pill to patients who need it.
If you were involved in a Boston accident, contact Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (617) 777-7777.
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Chain Reaction Accident Sends Motorists to UMass Memorial, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, January 22, 2014