A great deal of the attention that traumatic brain injuries receive in the news is focused on professional athletes and soldiers, and while that sometimes overshadows the reality that so many people are needlessly exposed to and suffer from TBI, it also serves as a blessing in the fields of research and treatment. Case in point, a recent study funded by the Department of Defense, in cooperation with the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, has discovered a new treatment that could very well change that victims of head trauma and brain damage recover.
In cases of TBI, the greatest initial damage is caused by the reduction of the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. When sections of the brain are deprived of oxygen, the resulting damage can be significant and irreversible. However, this study, published on August 6 in the American Chemical Society’s journal Nano, shows that the physicians involved have successfully used a nanoparticle, PEG-HCC, to serve as an antioxidant and restore blood flow to damaged sections of the brain in rats.
According to the study:
“Cerebrovascular dysfunction, manifested by reduction in cerebral blood flow (CBF), is a key factor that worsens outcome after traumatic brain injury (TBI), most notably under conditions of hypotension. We report here that a new class of antioxidants, poly(ethylene glycol)-functionalized hydrophilic carbon clusters (PEG-HCCs), which are nontoxic carbon particles, rapidly restore CBF in a mild TBI/hypotension/resuscitation rat model when administered during resuscitation—a clinically relevant time point.”
Translated: If the nanoparticles can be administered in timely manner after the initial trauma, there is a strong possibility that they could reverse the permanent damage that is associated with TBI. Previously, as noted in this study, there have never been antioxidants that have been able to improve the brain after serious injuries. However, the ongoing research and experimentation with particle-based symptoms as antioxidants is providing considerable hope within the medical research community.