Rhode Island Hospital participates in study on traumatic brain injury

Posted on Oct 09, 2015

Rhode Island Hospital recently announced that it is participating in a new national study on a proposed treatment for traumatic brain injury. The study, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health, is being conducted at 36 health facilities across the United States.

The press release issued by Rhode Island Hospital notes that the study will focus on the use of progesterone as a treatment for traumatic brain injuries. Preliminary research indicates that the naturally occurring hormone "may reduce the risk of death and disability" if administered to the victim shortly after the brain injury occurs.

Traumatic brain injury affects large numbers of Americans

Currently there are no medications that have been proven to be effective in the treatment of traumatic brain injury. This is unfortunate, considering the large number of Americans suffering from this debilitating condition. The hospital press release describes it as "the leading cause of death and disability in children and adults ages 1 to 44." Almost two million Americans receive traumatic brain injuries every year, and approximately 80,000 of those require special care on an ongoing basis to treat the resulting disabilities.

Traumatic brain injury can be caused by any blow to the head from an outside force. Motor vehicle accidents have long been a major cause of this condition. In recent years, large numbers of U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan - now totalling more than 250,000 - have sustained the injury as a result of roadside bombs and other explosives.

Researchers study various treatments for traumatic brain injury

Researchers have also been studying other possible treatments for the condition. A recent article in USA Today describes one technique that has so far proven ineffective. It involves using a hyperbaric chamber to administer pressurized oxygen to the individual. While private clinics have reported positive results from this treatment, a study being conducted by the Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs has so far found "no significant benefit from using the chamber on troops."

A small, battery-powered device is used to administer another treatment. An article in the magazine Popular Science describes the device, which is called the Portable NeuroModulation Stimulator. It fits into the mouth, and the individual is instructed to bite down on part of the device while performing certain exercises, both physical and cognitive. The device then "stimulates nerve endings on the tongue in a way that mirrors the exercises," which is intended to help repair damaged connections in the brain.

Anyone in Rhode Island who is diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury resulting from a car accident (or any other non-military incident) should contact an experienced personal injury attorney. A lawyer with relevant expertise will assess the unique facts of each case and offer expert advice on legal options.