Memantine drug may help victims of TBI

For those who have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in West Virginia, there may be new hope for treatment. Based on a recent research study, a drug normally used to treat patients with Alzheimer's disease has demonstrated improvement for victims of TBI.

The research involved a controlled experiment of 41 TBI victims, 19 of which were provided a standard regimen of TBI treatment for seven days. The remaining 22 were provided the standard treatment plus doses of memantine, a neuro-protective drug used to lessen brain damage for AD patients. All subjects were reexamined after three days of treatment and then again after seven days.

The subjects were tested based on their Glasgow Coma Score and neuron specific enolase (NSE) blood levels. The Glasgow Score is a standard test to determine consciousness through eye movement, verbal and motor responses. In patients with brain trauma, the NSE level is often elevated.

After three days of medication, the patients given memantine showed improvement in both test areas. The improvement was greater than the control group. After seven days, the memantine group showed continued lower levels in the NSE testing, with levels approximately half of the non-memantine group.

If the research continues to be favorable, treatment can be significantly improved for TBI victims. The body has a difficult time recovering from TBI, and in many cases, the damage is permanent. However, if medical providers can provide a medication that will slow the rate of damage to the brain, the patient will retain more functionality. Slowing the rate of damage will also create less overall damage for the body to repair. Because memantine has shown through the study to work quickly, it may be a promising treatment to retard the rate of brain damage in trauma patients. Nevertheless, patients who do not receive proper treatment for TBIs may wish to discuss their legal options with a lawyer.

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