Scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem report that a single dose of a new molecule they have developed can effectively protect the brain from inflammation, cell death, and cognitive impairments that often follow a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). At present, no effective treatment exists for patients who have suffered mTBI, a frequently underdiagnosed injury that is often accompanied by persistent cognitive, behavioral, and emotional dysfunction. Although most symptoms resolve within days or weeks of the injury, up to one-half of mTBI patients experience impairment at a year thereafter, from changes that may be due to increased glutamate levels, oxidative stress, opening of the blood-brain-barrier, and inflammatory activity followed by cell death (apoptosis).
Daphne Atlas, PhD, from the Department of Biological Chemistry in the Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and her team report that they have synthesized thioredoxin-mimetic peptides (TXM-peptides) and have shown in mouse studies that they have the potential to protect cells from early death via the activation of inflammatory pathways. Dr. Atlas noted that because the peptides consist of amino acids which are the natural building blocks of cell proteins, their use in treatment of mTBI may carry fewer toxic side effects.
Read more about traumatic brain injuries here.
A news story about the treatment advance may be read here.