How reproductive hormones can treat head injuries

How reproductive hormones can treat head injuries

Could the hormone progesterone, which gets released during pregnancy, become one of the latest advancements in the treatment of head injuries? The trauma team at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois, and neurosurgeon Dr. Shaun O’Leary, are participating in an international study that may help answer that question.

If administered quickly after a brain injury, while a person is in a coma, the reproductive hormone has shown some promise in reducing both disabilities and even death. Over the past three years, 14 patients at Lutheran General participated in the double-blind study, which was conducted at some 100 other health facilities worldwide. The local patients ranged in age from 16 to 60 years of age. Lutheran General is the only site in Chicago to have completed the study. The findings are expected to be released in late 2014.

“While the number one proven method to prevent brain injury is wearing a helmet, if effective, this medication could significantly change the management of brain injury patients,” says Dr. O’Leary. “And, if effective, progesterone could be given in the field by paramedics and at the very least prevent secondary injury,” he says.

While it is too early to tell the results from the experience at Lutheran General Hospital, Dr. O’Leary is extremely hopeful. “There has been so little to offer in the treatment of brain injuries in the past decade,” he says. “This is a medication that could be so easily adapted into present practice and hopefully be lifesaving for many patients.”

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One Comment

  1. cordelia_79720 May 15, 2014 at 11:56 pm · Reply

    Since I had head/barinstem/spinall cord injury, I have a bit of interest in this area of reserch; and since the brainstem and spinal cord are formed along with the brain first in the formation of a fetus, one would expect that similar biochemistry would be appropriate for maintenance, development, growth/regrowth of the entire neuro brain/stem/cord system …and so, under this assmption, since I am relatively familiar with the research done on preventing secondary and tertiary damage to the neuro system after a traumatic injury to the brain/stem/cord system …
    I will speak to this feature from that perspective:

    1. UK is far in advance of the US in Neuro research …Cardiff, Bristol, Roehampton, UCL, Manchester, …to name but a few…so much so that I would go so far as to say London or Scotland should be hosting a major symposium on current state of Neuroscience knowledge, ongoing research, what’s known/done, what’s needed to be done … I am always amazed at the arrogance for bureaucratic superiority of UK…yet where they are absolutely brilliant, there’s no one leading, no one holding up the country’s innovation and excellence …I just don’t understand…perhaps the UK powers that be extoll the wrong things, miss the right things ?!

    2. With injuries to the stem/spinal cord and I would assume the brain as well, it is essential to
    stop secondary and tertiary damage to the neuro system by immediate w/in first 24 hrs after injury to chill the tissue and to apply ?glycogen, kinase …bath to promote healing and preempt further damage evolving …since most/much of the permanent neuro disablement is a result of the complex of the secondary and tertiary cascade of injury/damage atop the primary …the compounding being the factor which is most often missed since the first 24 hrs is critical…

    3. Prostaglandin…as a healing bath …for the injured brain…probably must be within the first 24 hrs…I can surely believe it would at east do no harm being that it is a naturally occurring biochemistry for the developing brain in utero …

    Surely, there are sufficient head injuries in the UK from falling off horses, head injuries from sports and accidents …that the many UK institutions doing research could try the methodology… /? Of course, I couldn’t find current work in UK with prostaglandin therapy as a means of rehabilitating head trauma … but then, not everything being done is documented …until after findings are completed/presented to the neuro board…

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About the Author

Evonne Woloshyn
Evonne Woloshyn

Evonne Woloshyn, health enews contributor, is director of public affairs at Advocate Children's Hospital. Evonne began her career as an anchor and reporter in broadcast news. Over the past 20 years, she has worked in health care marketing in both Ohio and Illinois. Evonne loves to travel, spend time with family and is an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan!