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Brain tsunamis' are clue to helping victims of major head injuries
Date:12/7/2011

Treating 'brain tsunamis' or 'killer waves' could stop many victims of major head injury from suffering additional brain damage, a study published in Lancet Neurology has found.

Scientists have been investigating this phenomenon for decades, with the topic of spreading depolarizations now of keen interest to the U.S. military because head injuries have emerged as the signature wound of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Researchers at King's College London and King's College Hospital in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Cincinnati (UC) found that of 103 patients undergoing neurosurgery following major head trauma, 58 experienced a phenomenon called cortical spreading depolarizations, or 'brain tsunamis.'

The Lancet study supports the original clinical evidence that brain tsunamis are common in patients with major brain injuries, and now shows for the first time that they contribute to worse outcomes in these patients. Longer-term, it is hoped the results of this study will be used to help guide how brain injuries are treated and managed, leading to better outcomes for patients.

The majority of patients were treated at King's College Hospital in London. Nine were treated at UC Health/University Hospital. Patients were enrolled at seven centres internationally, including the University of Miami, University of Pittsburgh, Virginia Commonwealth University, and the German centres Charit University Medicine (Berlin) and University Hospital Heidelberg. The collaborating scientists and clinicians are members of COSBID (Co-Operative Studies of Brain Injury Depolarizations: http://www.cosbid.org).

Professor Anthony Strong, King's College London, who led the study in the UK, said the results were promising:

'This is an exciting area of research, which is attracting a lot of interest and collaboration internationally. This study provides real, concr
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Contact: Katherine Barnes
katherine.barnes@kcl.ac.uk
44-020-784-83076
King's College London
Source:Eurekalert

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