A recent study is making massive strides toward understanding the long-term effects of a traumatic brain injury. The research team linked brain trauma to higher risks of complications like chronic traumatic encephalopathy and Alzheimer’s. By understanding TBIs further, they have been able to create an antibody that could potentially prevent these diseases.
What they found is that, in as little as 12 hours after a brain injury, an essential protein in the brain becomes misshapen. When this happens, it can lead to the death of neurons and, eventually, neurodegeneration. But, they provided hope with an antibody that tracks down and destroys the rogue protein before it causes this chain reaction. In addition, the antibody has been shown to help revitalize neurons.
The misshapen protein, called a tau protein, is one of vital importance in its normal form. It is a building block of neurons and gives them their unique shape and functionality. Tau is also crucial in memory formation and for learning. The initial damage is generally on the brain surface, but it eventually finds its way deeper into the brain, wreaking havoc.
As it stands now, the study has only been conducted in mice. But, the pharmaceutical company who developed the antibody says human trials could be just a few years away. Researchers say that when the human trials are successful, that is when they will declare victory. Even if the treatment never comes to fruition, the study has still given the medical world a better understanding of concussions and the brain as a whole.
Anyone in Connecticut who has suffered a traumatic brain injury due to someone else’s actions should consider consulting a personal injury attorney in order to file for compensation.
Source: USA Today, “Scientists fix rogue protein in mice that leads to Alzheimer's, brain damage,” Karen Weintraub, July 15, 2015