Emory University researchers in Atlanta will launch a Phase III clinical trial in March to determine if the female sex hormone progesterone can be an effective treatment for brain injuries. Some 1,000 patients in 17 trauma centers across the control will take part. Progesterone is an ingredient in birth control pills.
Speaking to the BBC, lead researcher Dr. David Wright expressed optimism about the treatment”
Traumatic brain injury is a complex condition – there’s swelling, and neuronal death and damage occurring all at the same time.”The beauty of progesterone is that it seems to work on all of those things.”
During the study, patients presenting to emergency rooms within 11 hours of ahead injury will receive over several days either a course of natural progesterone (extracted from yams) or a placebo. The FDA has given researchers the okay to administer the drug without patient consent.
According to SportandHealthnews.com, doctors apparently identified progesterone as a potential treatment after noticing that women responded more strongly to therapy and recovered better after brain injury or stroke than did men. Apparently, progesterone protects cells and tissues just as it does during the early stages of pregnancy.
Dr. Wright added that progesterone could become the first drug treatment in 30 years to be approved specifically for severe traumatic brain injury. If proved effective, the treatment could save lives and reduce brain damage.
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