Doctors experimenting with a hormone that could save the brain

by KING 5 HealthLink

KING5.com

Posted on September 26, 2010 at 5:20 PM

Marc Baskett doesn’t remember the head-on crash or his trip to the ER, but he believes what doctors did in those first few hours saved him.

“On the Glasgow coma scale your brain normally activates at a 15, and being completely brain dead is a 3, and I was a 4, so I was almost completely ‚Ķ gone,” he said.

Doctors treated Marc with an IV infusion of progesterone. Researchers say if it’s administered hours after injury it can block damage to the brain.

“Progesterone classically has been called a female hormone, but the reality is that it’s actually a neurosteroid. It’s made in the brain, by the brain, for the brain,” said Dr. David W. Wright, Emory University.

In a study of 100 patients, progesterone reduced mortality by 50 percent and reduced disability and improved functional outcomes in those with moderate brain injuries.

“For the first time really since recorded history from NIH, for the first time, we may actually have a drug that will work for traumatic brain injury,” said Dr. Wright.

“I forget things every now and then, but I’ve done that before and I think everybody does, but my brain’s 100 percent,” said Mark.

Oregon Health and Science University in Portland is among 17 medical centers around the U.S. that are participating in an expanded clinical trial to test this therapy over the next three years.

Car accidents, firearms and falls are the most common causes of brain injury.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.