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All Press Releases for February 12, 2014 »
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Penn State researchers report a potential breakthrough in treatment of TBI

A possible new treatment offers hope to those suffering from traumatic brain injuries.
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    February 12, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Each year, about 1.7 million people across the nation develop a traumatic brain injury, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The symptoms of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can persist for years following the injury, as the brain, in most cases, cannot heal itself. Although there is currently no drug or treatment that is 100 percent effective in treating TBIs, researchers right here in Pennsylvania hope to change that.

Researchers at Penn State University are in the process of developing a way to help the parts of the brain damaged by TBIs heal themselves. Their research was recently published in the medical journal Cell Stem Cell.

When the brain is damaged as a result of a disease or injury (e.g. TBI), neurons in the affected area die or degenerate. However, other types of cells, called glial cells, increase in number and branch out. These glial cells do not replace the impulse-carrying function of the damaged neurons. Instead, their purpose is to protect healthy brain tissue from being further damaged by bacteria and toxins, by forming scar tissue. Unfortunately, this scar tissue can have the side effect of preventing healthy neurons from growing and connecting to each other in the injured area.

The researchers found a way to convert the glial cells into neurons, which allowed nerve signals to resume in the injured area of the brain. The team's research focused on how the glial cells responded to NeuroD1, which is a protein that is known to be needed to form nerve cells in the hippocampus area of the brain. When the glial cells were infected with a retrovirus that contained the genetic code for NeuroD1, they were able to produce this protein, which resulted in the return of neurons to the area.

As the research is in its early stages, significant further testing is required. However, the researchers hope that their breakthrough would eventually allow the reversal of brain damage caused by TBIs and Alzheimer's disease.

Consult an attorney

TBIs are often caused by construction accidents, motor vehicle accidents and slip-and-falls, which can sometimes be the result of the negligence of another party. Treatment for serious TBIs can be very expensive and require multiple surgeries and months or years of rehabilitation or hospitalization.

If you or a loved one have suffered a head injury because of someone else's carelessness, insurance companies may offer a quick settlement before the extent of your injuries has been fully ascertained. An experienced personal injury attorney can ensure that you receive a fair offer of compensation that is proportional to your injuries.

Article provided by Dallas W. Hartman P.C.
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