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Drug May Protect Brain after Head Injury

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I’m an avid reader of Michael Kaplen’s brain injury news and information blog. Michael is a New York attorney and the President of the Brain Injury Association of New York. Earlier this week, Michael brought my attention to the story of a study which shows that the drug Progesterone may help humans who have suffered brain trauma.

Because progesterone receptors are widely distributed in the central nervous system, and because progesterone appears to reduce brain swelling and prevent the loss of some nerve cells in animals studied after brain injury, researchers believe it will help humans with head trauma. Sexual effects wear off hours after the drug is administered. (“People are not interested in having sex in the intensive-care unit, anyway,” Kellermann quips.)

In the human study, patients got progesterone for three days. Some patients with moderate brain injury were more likely to have better neurological outcomes if they got progesterone, the study found. A patient who got the drug might respond with confused speech to a friend, for instance, while a patient who did not get the steroid might remain unresponsive. Patients on progesterone had a lower 30-day mortality rate.