Tags: diabetes | drug | brain | injury

Diabetes Drug Treats Brain Injury

Friday, 15 Jun 2012 01:41 PM


A team of U.S. and Israeli researchers has identified a promising new use for a medication used to treat diabetes. Scientists from Tel Aviv University, working with the United States Air Force, have found that the diabetes drug Exendin-4 eases brain damage in patients with traumatic brain injuries.
Lead researcher Chaim Pick said the promising discovery may help researchers find the ideal combination of medications to minimize the lasting and sometimes debilitating impacts of such injuries.
"We are moving in the right direction,” he said of the study, published in the journal Experimental Neurology. “Now we need to find the right dosage and delivery system, then build a cocktail of drugs that will increase the therapeutic value of this concept.”
For the study, Pick and co-researcher Dr. Nigel Greig of the National Institute of Aging, conducted experiments on the effects of the drug on mice with brain injuries, compared to those who received no treatment. Behavioral and physical tests showed that mice given Exendin-4 treatment had significantly better brain function and less long-term damage than those who didn’t receive the drug.
Exendin-4 has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to control sugar levels in the body. But other studies have also shown it is effective in protecting nerve cells in the brain in disorders such as Alzheimer's disease.
Pick said his study is the first step toward developing a cocktail of medications that may prevent or limit brain damage caused by injury or illness.
Traumatic brain injury causes long-term damage by changing the chemistry of the brain. It can have severe, life-long consequences for brain function by impairing mental abilities, memory and behavior, and lead to dramatic personality changes.

Although the damage itself cannot be reversed, a treatment plan through therapy or medication can reduce its impacts.


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