Progesterone is a hormone mainly involved in menstruation, pregnancy and embryo development. It may also play a role in traumatic brain injury (TBI) treatment.
The National Institutes of Health is funding the study and Atlanta’s Emory University is implementing it. Researchers want to find out if a three-day supplement of progesterone can help mitigate the damage sustained in a TBI. Finding suitable research subjects has proved challenging because the treatment must be administered within four hours after the injury.
Researchers will not announce the final results of the study for another three years, but they have expressed a degree of “some measure of cautious optimism” about the initial results, according to Dr. David Gordon of the Montefiore Medical Center in New York.
“The early data look very promising,” he said.
An early trial at reported that of 100 patients, there was a 13 percent mortality rate for those given progesterone treatment. Patients given a placebo treatment had a 30 percent mortality rate.
While progesterone is mostly considered a female hormone, trace elements have been found in male brain cells. This fact, coupled with an earlier study that found rats with high levels of progesterone demonstrating elevated memory and brain functions, inspired scientists to think that the hormone could be connected to brain development.
Hopefully these tests yield positive results that ultimately lead to less severe brain damage for anyone involved in a serious accident.
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