Augusta, Ga. A close cousin of the dye that makes fabric, M&M's and sports drinks blue may improve recovery from traumatic brain injuries.
Falls, motor vehicle accidents, collisions, assaults, and war injuries result in more than 1.7 million Americans experiencing a traumatic brain injury annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While two -thirds of these injuries are relatively minor, nearly 40 percent of patients with severe brain trauma die as a result of damage that occurs after the original injury, as the brain attempts to heal within the closed confines of the skull, said Dr. John Vender, Vice Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University.
Vender and Neuroscientist Krishnan Dhandapani are Co-Principal Investigators on a new National Institutes of Health-funded study to see if the dye brilliant blue G can intervene by temporarily blocking at least one immune response that leads to damaging and potentially deadly swelling in the hours and days after injury.
A focus is interleukin 1, a common pro-inflammatory cytokine that aids wound healing and repair. "Any time you cut your finger, you are going to have interleukin there," Dhandapani said. However in the brain, the MCG researchers are finding interleukin1 also promotes water retention, which drives swelling.
The intent appears positive: swelling opens up the pores of the brain's blood vessels, literally providing more room for infection fighters, blood clotting and other agents to move in, Vender said. "It's bringing in the supplies needed to fight the injury," added Dhandapani. However, the system designed to ramp up exponentially, can quickly overwhelm, affecting too much tissue and causing too much swelling.
"It's all a balancing act," said Dhandapani, and, in this case, stability is lost. "If interleukin is doing more harm than good at that early
|Contact: Toni Baker|
Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University