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Florida Scientists Searching for Treatment for Brain Injuries

Two scientists from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine are part of a team of four that were awarded $2 million to further develop a compound that could help a victim’s cognitive brain function after a traumatic brain injury. This five-year grant was awarded to W. Dalton Dietrich, the scientific director of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and Coleen Atkins, a professor of neurological surgery at UM.

Traumatic Brain Injury Research

The research is focused on the enzyme phosphodiesterase 4B. In a traumatic brain injury (TBI), the amount of phosphodiesterase 4B goes up in the brain. This is important because the enzyme degrades a molecule in the brain that is responsible for gene transcription stimulation when a neuron is encoding a memory. “We think this is the basis for learning and memory difficulty after traumatic brain injury,” Atkins said.

Goals of Research

The purpose of the grant is to go towards researching the compound effects of A33, which reduces inflammation and reduces the amount of phosphodiesterase 4B in the brain after a TBI. The hope of the research team is that compound A33 will allow those with TBI to remember and function more normally. “There is an untapped opportunity of developing something to give to someone months to years after the injury to improve their cognition.”

Members of the team had been testing compound A33 for other reasons when they decided to test its effectiveness on traumatic brain injuries. One of the members, working with the compound on spinal injuries, saw the potential for its use in TBI. “”For many years we’ve been studying drugs that reduce inflammation on spinal cord injuries, and we decided to try and see if a drug that was working really well on spinal cord injury would also work really well on traumatic brain injury.”

So far, the team has only been testing on animal subjects, but there has been some success. After being given A33, mice that had suffered traumatic brain injuries began to operate with normal function. The team hopes to eventually get to the stage of trying the compound on a person suffering from TBI.

TBI Statistics

Over two million people every year suffer from a traumatic brain injury in the United States. However, treating this type of injury is difficult because of the varying symptoms and consequences. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), traumatic brain injuries contribute to a substantial number of serious injuries and deaths across the United States. TBI is caused by a blow, jolt, or bump to the head or a penetrating wound that disrupts the normal function of the brain. The severity of TBI can range from mild, with a brief change in status or consciousness, to severe, with permanent changes in status, coma, or death.

Call a Florida Attorney Now

If you or someone that you know has suffered from a traumatic brain injury in the West Palm Beach area, let the experienced personal injury attorneys at Gary Roberts & Associates help. Call or contact the office today for a free and confidential consultation of your case.

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