ReviewBrain Trauma

Exploring New Routes for Neuroprotective Drug Development in Traumatic Brain Injury

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Science Translational Medicine  14 Apr 2010:
Vol. 2, Issue 27, pp. 27rv1
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3000330

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Saving the Brain

Although encased in a bony shell, the human brain is still vulnerable to traumatic damage. A powerful blow, an accident, or even the oxygen deprivation of a stroke can set off a chain reaction of metabolic disturbances that extends the regions of permanently injured brain far beyond its initial locale. Ever since we learned that at least some of this damage is from glutamate release, many preclinical studies in animals have succeeded in minimizing or halting this injury-triggered damage. However, none of these treatments has been effective when they have been tried in patients, surely one of the worst track records in any field of biomedicine. Janowitz and Menon propose a new approach. They suggest that translation from animal models would be accelerated by using the wide array of experimental tools available today to ask questions in the most relevant organism, the human patient. They outline the experimental medicine methods that can now be applied to the injured human brain, pointing the way to a new approach to this most thorny of problems.

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