The problem of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) goes beyond sports, such as football or soccer, involving frequent head contact. After all, TBIs occur in all sorts of settings, including car wrecks, falls and other accidents.
Recent sports-related TBI research has increasingly put scrutiny on the cumulative trauma from heading a soccer ball or a blow to the head in football.
The eve of the football season is therefore a timely moment to pose the question: Are there any treatments for TBI that would restore a damaged brain to its pre-injury state.
In this post, we will inform you about a recent study conducted by Rutgers University scientists suggesting that drug could potentially be developed to treat TBI.
Sports and TBIs
TBIs are a growing issue for football and soccer players, where the game involves a lot of head contact. In soccer, professional players have been unimpressed with how FIFA addresses, treats and prevents concussions despite numerous injuries. A 2017 study revealed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in four of six retired professional soccer players.
In 2015, the United States Soccer Federation banned heading the ball for players younger than 10 after studies revealed that heading can cause concussions. However, over 50 percent of concussions attained by high school soccer players were the result of body-to-body contact.
One study on TBIs that included 111 former NFL players found that 99 percent of them had CTE. Another study done on a youth level found that children who play tackle football before they are 12 will experience brain functioning issues later in life.
How does TBI affect the brain?
TBIs often cause memory loss, difficulty thinking and learning, irritability and more. People of all ages are affected, including kids who play youth sports and older Americans who suffer falls.
As we discussed in a post earlier this year, the rate of increase in reported TBIs has been largest among people 75 and older.
When a person suffers a TBI, his or her neurons are damaged, altering how the brain functions. Thus, studies have been focused on protecting neurons after a TBI.
What did the Rutgers study reveal?
The 10-year study was conducted on mice and focused on a protein known as cypin and guanine, a nucleobase in DNA and RNA cells. Cypin breaks down the guanine and protects the neurons. Researchers found that using activators to speed up that process promoted recovery of the brain.
The results of the study show that cypin can help restore memory and learning functions to patients with TBI.
Trials of this protein have yet to be done on humans, but the study’s positive results are good news for people who have a TBI. Though it may be a few years before a drug is on the market for humans, it’s a positive development for an injury with seemingly no cure.
If you or a loved one has sustained a TBI, you can reach out to an attorney to understand your rights.