Although the death toll is relatively low for people who suffer from traumatic brain injury (TBI), it can have severe, life-long consequences for brain function. TBI can impair a patient's mental abilities, impact memory and behavior, and lead to dramatic personality changes. And long-term medical treatment carries a high economic cost.
Now, in research commissioned by the United States Air Force, Prof. Chaim Pick of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Dr. Nigel Greig of the National Institute of Aging in the US have discovered that Exendin-4, an FDA-approved diabetes drug, significantly minimizes damage in TBI animal models when administered shortly after the initial incident. Originally designed to control sugar levels in the body, the drug has recently been found effective in protecting neurons in disorders such as Alzheimer's disease.
Prof. Pick's collaborators include his TAU colleagues Dr. Vardit Rubovitch, Lital Rachmany-Raber, and Prof. Shaul Schreiber, and Dr. David Tweedie of the National Institute of Aging in the US. Detailed in the journal Experimental Neurology, this breakthrough is the first step towards developing a cocktail of medications to prevent as much brain damage as possible following injury.
Diabetes medication to halt trauma
Prof. Pick has been researching TBI for many years, beginning with the effects of everyday injuries such as hitting the windshield in a car accident. As a result of his work for the Air Force, he has expanded his research to include trauma sustained when a person is exposed to an explosion, such as during a terrorist attack.
TBI causes long-term damage by changing the chemistry of the brain. During an explosion, increased pressure followed by an intense vacuum shakes the fluid inside the brain and damages the brain's structure. This damage cannot be reversed, but mapping the injury through behavioral and physical tests is crucial to unders
|Contact: George Hunka|
American Friends of Tel Aviv University