Cooling concussions and TBIs to protect the brain
MADISON, Wis. (IVANHOE NEWSWIRE)- A sports injury, a car accident, or even a simple bump or blow to the head can cause a concussion or traumatic brain injury. These injuries can have negative short and long-term effects, such as concentration and memory problems, mood swings, insomnia, and fatigue. But there may be a simple way to protect the brain from these adverse effects.
Every year, 2.5 million people get a traumatic brain injury. 80,000 suffer permanent disability, and 50,000 thousand die.
“Traumatic brain injury in general at the moment does not have an FDA approved treatment,” Harry Cramer III, a Ph.D. candidate at Brown University explains.
That’s why researchers at the University of Wisconsin, Madison are studying how cooling the brain may be able to shield against the negative effects of a concussion or TBI. But instead of putting an ice pack on the head, these researchers are cooling the brain at a cellular level. Using brain cells in a dish, they looked for the sweet temperature for cooling.
“What we found in our study was that cooling just a few degrees to about 33 degrees Celsius and then within the first four hours was most beneficial,” Christian Franck, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison stated.
On slides, healthy brain cells show up in green right after a concussion-causing impact and temperature-lowering treatment. Thirty-three degrees preserved the most brain cells while cooling too much, at 31 degrees, causes injury to the cells.
“The targeted application of cooler temperatures in a very controlled way can actually slow down cellular processes that are occurring within these cells after injury,” Cramer explains.
Now, scientists are researching the best delivery treatment directly to the brain.
“We were kind of envisioning it almost like a little inhaler that has a coolant in it,” Franck says.
The researchers found the best outcome was when the cooling lasted for six hours, but Franck says cooling for even as little as 30 minutes showed some benefits.
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