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All Press Releases for January 29, 2014 »
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Advance in brain injury treatment comes from Texas researcher

Brain injuries can cause lasting medical consequences, but a new breakthrough could give hope to accident victims.
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    January 29, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- In the early weeks of 2014, it's hard to deny that public awareness surrounding traumatic brain injury has reached historically high levels. Part of the reason is the growing controversy surrounding brain injuries suffered by NFL players in the course of their careers, and a recently reached settlement in a brain injury lawsuit against the league by approximately 5,000 players that topped three quarters of a billion dollars.

But, it is not just pro football players who must worry about traumatic brain injury. Soldiers, motorists, even homeowners completing seemingly mundane tasks from the height of a ladder are among those most at risk for suffering from a traumatic brain injury. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 50,000 Americans die every year from brain trauma, and nearly 300,000 are hospitalized for a nonfatal brain injury.

While brain injury is stealing more headlines than ever before, successfully treating brain injury victims is a challenge for even the most brilliant medical minds. Even so, brain injury research periodically produces encouraging, albeit small, breakthroughs. One of the latest comes from a Texas lab and could help protect brain injury victims through a treatment administered in the immediate aftermath of an accident.

Patented compound supercharges neuron-shielding astrocyte cells

A traumatic brain injury occurs because of a blow to the head. However, not all of the harm done to brain tissue occurs from the blow itself; subsequent swelling in the aftermath of the trauma can cause significant further damage.

"One of the greatest injuries after a trauma is actually increased swelling -- brain edema," Dr. James Lechleiter of the UT Health Science Center San Antonio told Texas Public Radio. "And so it turns out that the astrocyte is a very important cell type to control that cell swelling."

The astrocyte cells are at the center of Dr. Lechleiter's research. In fact, he has just been awarded a patent for a class of compounds designed to stimulate astrocytes into functioning at a higher capacity, doing more to protect healthy neurons in the wake of an injury.

While the newly patented compounds cannot restore dead cells, they do appear to stem further injury when administered quickly after a trauma. The next step is a phase of clinical trials to ensure that the compounds serve their function without producing undesirable side effects.

Paying for brain injury treatments may be possible by taking legal action

Many of the long-term effects of a brain injury are actually caused by swelling damage rather than the damage caused in the initial impact. The new breakthrough from Texas' own Dr. Lechleiter could do much to help brain injury victims return to a more normal life after a car accident, scaffolding fall or any other type of traumatic event.

Of course, medical treatment can be expensive, and given the ongoing nature of severe brain injury symptoms, it is particularly important to secure the resources that may be needed for long-term care. If you or a family member has suffered a brain injury, you may be entitled to compensation. By taking legal action, you can ensure you get the maximum financial recovery available from any parties obligated to pay damages, such as a motorist at fault for causing a crash or a workers' compensation insurer. Talk to a Texas personal injury attorney today to learn more about your right to compensation.

Article provided by The Krist Law Firm PC
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