Retigabine May Change the Treatment of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Recently, a research article was published showing that a drug called Retigabine might be useful in preventing some of the complications and damage caused by a traumatic brain injury. According to the researchers, nearly three million people in the United States are diagnosed with some form of TBI every year. Like other traumatic injuries, neurological damage can range from a concussion that might not have any long-term impacts to severe head injuries that might leave someone paralyzed or comatose. In some cases, these injuries can even be fatal. For this reason, there has been a lot of research performed by trained medical professionals who are looking for a way to help individuals and families who suffer TBIs every year. Now, it looks like Retigabine might provide some hope to these families. Helpful information was recently published in a research article.
The Role of the Voltage-Gated Channels
One of the major reasons why traumatic brain injuries lead to long-term neurological damage is that neurons are damaged by a blow to the head. These neurons are used to send and receive signals throughout the body, and unfortunately, if these neurons are damaged, they often don’t heal. Neurons are controlled by something called voltage-gated channels. When these channels are exposed to a neuronal current, they open and close. This action leads to the transmission of signals throughout the body.
One of the ways that voltage changes throughout these neurons are through the flow of different ions. Ions either have a positive charge or a negative charge. The difference in the positive and negative charges on either side of a channel creates an electrical charge. This charge is ultimately transmitted into an electrical current that controls the function of nerves.
The Role of Retigabine and Seizures: Excitable Neurons
The goal of Retigabine is to control these voltage-gated channels. When neurons are damaged following a TBI, they often enter a state of “hyper-excitability.” This means that these nerves activate and fire more easily than they should. When neurons are hyper-excitable, and they fire more often than they should, they can lead to seizures. This is one of the reasons why individuals who suffer a TBI are more likely to develop seizures in the aftermath of this injury.
When someone has repeated seizures, they develop a condition called epilepsy. These repetitive seizures can exhaust the neurons inside the brain, leading to long-term damage. If these seizures can be avoided, the quality of life of people who suffer a TBI can be improved dramatically. Researchers have been trying to develop a drug that can modulate and control the activity of nerves following a TBI. They believe Retigabine might be able to do exactly that.
The Research Study on Neuron Excitability
In a research paper that was published in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, A team of researchers studied animal models that had sustained a TBI. Within 30 minutes of suffering a brain injury, the research team injected a controlled dose of Retigabine. Then, the researchers monitored the development and progression of these animal models. The researchers found that Retigabine led to a reduction in the complications following a TBI. These include the development of seizures, metabolic stresses, inflammatory responses, issues related to the blood-brain barrier, and even cellular death. These results show that using Retigabine to reduce the excitability of neurons following a blow to the head might preserve the function of countless neurons in the central nervous system.
It is important to note that these events took place in animal models. There are important differences between animals and people. On the other hand, these results also show that Retigabine can reduce the stress responses of neurons, possibly saving them from cell death. This has the potential to help millions of people who suffer a brain injury every year.
San Francisco Brain Injury Lawyers
I’m Ed Smith, a San Francisco Brain Injury Lawyer. Retigabine may change the way brain injuries are treated. If you are suffering from seizures following a traumatic brain injury due to the negligence of another person or entity, call me as quickly as possible at (415) 805-7284 or (916) 921-6400 for free, friendly legal advice.
I am excited to be an attorney in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and in the Top One Percent, which is a National Association of Distinguished Counsel. Our legal ranks include injury lawyers who have received verdicts and/or have negotiated case settlements valued north of $1 million in worth.
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