You may be hearing alot about TBI (traumatic brain injury) and the health concerns associated with these injuries.
TBI is a form of brain injury that occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. TBI can result when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue. Ouch! Symptoms can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the extent of the damage to the brain. A person with a mild TBI may be conscious or may experience a loss of consciousness for a few seconds or minutes.
Symptoms of mild TBI include headache, confusion, lightheadedness, dizziness, blurred vision, tired eyes, ringing in the ears, bad taste in the mouth, fatigue or lethargy, a change in sleep patterns, behavioral or mood changes, and trouble with memory, concentration, attention, or thinking.
The reason this has received more attention is in part due to the large number of injuries suffered by soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan and the heightened focus on the risk of concussions in athletes in various sports.
A recent study by the National Institutes of Health was designed to test whether hormones could reduce mortality if given soon after a traumatic brain injury. Patients given progesterone had a lower death rate and experienced greater functional improvement.
You may think of Progesterone as a female hormone only involved in menstruation and pregnancy. But research has found that there are small amounts of progesterone in the brains of both men and women. Besides its reproductive functions, Progesterone also has neuroprotective properties. It prevents cell death by reducing swelling of brain tissue. It also protects the myelin sheath around cells to allow cells to communicate to one another. Progesterone has been known to reduce Cortisol (stress hormone) levels which then allows the bodies tissues to repair and heal more quickly.
Results of this study is expected within 3 years and more research in this area will continue to grow. Recovery of brain injuries takes time (sometimes years) but finding medications to improve outcomes will speed healing and recovery.