Emory University researchers have found that giving progesterone to trauma victims shortly following brain injury may reduce the risk of death and the degree of disability and also appears to be safe.
Although it is widely considered a "sex steroid," progesterone is also a neurosteroid that exerts protective effects on human tissue. It is naturally present in small but measurable amounts in the brains of males and females. Laboratory studies suggest that progesterone is critical for the normal development of neurons in the brain and exerts protective effects on damaged brain tissue.
"We found encouraging evidence that progesterone is safe in the setting of TBI, with no evidence of side effects or serious harmful events,"
Furthermore, we found a significant improvement in the functional outcome and level of disability among patients who were enrolled with a moderate brain injury."
Progesterone is a promising treatment because it is inexpensive, widely available and has a long track record of safe use in humans to treat other diseases.
"The hormone seems to slow or block damaging chemicals that are released after a brain injury, protecting the brain from the death of brain cells."
Brains were processed for edema, protein and enzyme activity. ent-PROG treatment in vivo decreased cerebral edema, cell death mediators, inflammatory cytokines, and reactive gliosis, and increased antioxidant activity.
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