By: Yvonne Griggs, Owner, Alert/Best Nursing & Home Care, Inc.
The New England Journal of Medicine recently found that Amantadine, a drug commonly used after the 1960’s to treat nursing home patients for the flu, and then used to treat patients with Parkinson symptoms, does improve recovery speed, of slow to recover (vegetative, or minimally conscious) brain injury clients.
The Associated Press reports that researchers found Amantadine affects the dopamine system of the brain, which controls alertness and movement. It has been used to treat brain injuries since. The study conducted to determine whether or not there were side effects of Amantadine use for Brain Injured clients. The conclusion indicated that, neither the test group, nor placebo group, of 184 patients in total, four to sixteen weeks post trauma, had any differences in side effects.
Spinal Cord Injury
ABC News reported that researchers in Japan, searching for a drug to treat Multiple Sclerosis, have developed a drug, known as FTY720 or Gilenya. The drug tested on mice, allowed mice to “recover some motor function”, when treated with the drug immediately after injury.
According to researchers, the drug suppresses the immune response, which decreases inflammation after an injury. Inflammation can actually worsen the damage to the nervous system. Studies will continue on this drug as a treatment for spinal cord injuries.
Motor vehicle accidents are still the main cause of spinal cord and acquired brain injuries. According to the CDC 46% of spinal cord injures and 17.3% of brain injuries are related to motor vehicle crashes. This is despite efforts to improve vehicle and road safety, drinking and driving programs and driver safety awareness programs.
Although these drugs require further studies, it does provide hope for those living with these life altering injures.