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Anti-Epileptic Drug Could Help Reduce Brain Injury Swelling

Tuesday, April 18, 2017By Richard Alexander

There are many promising new developments on the horizon for victims of traumatic brain injuries (TBI). One of the most exciting involves the anti-seizure medication Acetazolamide, also known as "AZA."

When a TBI-causing impact occurs, the initial damage is referred to as the "primary" injury. Primary injuries are varied and can include the following:

  • damage to both sides of the brain from the smashing of the organ against the inside of the skull (known as coup-contrecoup injury);
  • broken skull bone;
  • bleeding and bruising; and
  • tearing of brain tissue, blood vessels, and nerves.

Secondary damage occurs after the initial impact. It can include infections, low oxygen levels, elevated pressure inside the skull, the death of brain tissue, and swelling.

University of Arkansas researchers tested whether AZA might help to control brain swelling in patients suffering from mild TBI. Swelling can be triggered by a particular type of protein that is released in the brain.

The researchers "exposed sample . . . cells to simulated impact." They found that this increased swelling within the short time period of 30 minutes. However, when AZA was "administered following a simulated impact brain injury," the amount of that protein was reduced substantially.

Potential applications of this finding, after additional testing, include administering AZA after brain injury to prevent release of the protein and also administering the drug to treat dangerous swelling. In the study, the drug also helped to reduce cell death.

The report was published in December in Nature's Scientific Reports.

If you or a loved one suffered a brain injury in a crash or other accident, contact the San Francisco personal injury attorneys at Alexander Law Group, LLP right away at 888.777.1776. We have decades of experience representing accident victims and their families. Call now: Delay could harm your case.

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