In an article posted online by Medical News Today, we learn of new research spear-headed by Emory University and funded by NIH for a Phase III trial using the hormone progesterone to treat patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Every 15 seconds, someone in the United States sustains a significant traumatic brain injury. Approximately 2 million adults and children in the United States suffer from traumatic brain injuries each year - leading to 50,000 deaths and 80,000 new cases of long-term disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Despite the enormity of the problem, scientists have failed to identify effective medications to improve outcomes following a traumatic brain injury.
As the term TBI denotes, when a person sustains a brain injury as a result of an outside traumatic force (e.g. a fall, car accident, being struck in the head, etc.), they are said to have sustained a TBI.
Apparently, notwithstanding the enormous numbers of deaths and disabilities associated with such injuries, there has been no approved new treatment for severe TBI in over 30 years.
Why the hormone progesterone?
Progesterone is naturally present in small but measurable amounts in the brains of males and females. Human brain tissue is loaded with progesterone receptors. Laboratory studies suggest that progesterone is critical for the normal development of neurons in the brain and exerts protective effects on damaged brain tissue.
According to today’s report, “The treatment is part of a randomized, double-blind Phase III clinical trial that will enroll approximately 1,140 people over a three- to six-year period beginning in March, 2010.”