Traumatic Brain Injury: 3 Things to Know

(DGIwire) – Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when an external mechanical force causes brain dysfunction, according to the Mayo Clinic. Usually resulting from a violent blow or jolt to the head or body, its consequences may be mild or more serious, resulting in bruising, torn tissues, bleeding and other physical damage to the brain that can result in long-term complications or death. Here are three things to know about TBI:

  • There is a wide variety of symptoms. Mild TBI can be marked by momentary loss of consciousness, disorientation, nausea and fatigue, as well as blurred vision, memory or concentration problems, notes the Mayo Clinic. Moderate to severe cases of TBI can be signaled by symptoms that can include persistent or worsening headache, convulsions or seizures, profound confusion, slurred speech and more.
  • Various events can serve as triggers: According to the Mayo Clinic, common events causing TBI can include falls, vehicle-related collisions, violence, sports injuries and explosive blasts and other combat injuries. Among athletes, TBI can be suffered by players of soccer, boxing, football, baseball, lacrosse, skateboarding, hockey and other high-impact or extreme sports.
  • Researchers are studying novel treatments. Therapix Biosciences is studying a ultra-low dose formulation of dronabinol for potential use in addressing the mild cognitive impairment (MCI) that can accompany TBI. Dronabinol, which is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is a biosynthetic form of the cannabinoid THC, and has been used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by cancer medications.

“We have generated compelling animal data suggesting that our compound THX-ULD01 may find use in addressing the cognitive decline associated with MCI and traumatic brain injury, which supports earlier research as well,” says Ascher Shmulewitz, MD, PhD, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Therapix. “Our own work builds on a body of published research suggesting that low doses of cannabinoids can be useful in this area.”

Although cannabis has been shown to cause long-term cognitive deficits in chronic users manifested as impairment in attention, memory or executive functions, paradoxically, research—including work published in The Journal of Neuroscience Research—suggests ultra-low doses of THC can actually prevent and reverse cognitive decline.

Therapix recently reported compelling preclinical data suggesting that THX-ULD01 significantly reversed age-related cognitive impairment in old mice. The data from this animal study suggest that the extremely low doses of THC in the treatment, which are devoid of any psychotropic effect, should be studied further to determine if it can provide a safe and effective treatment for cognitive decline in humans.

“Although this area is an enormous unmet medical need, there is sadly currently no FDA-approved treatment for MCI, so it is very important to conduct further research in this area with the hope that one day a treatment can be utilized,” Dr. Shmulewitz adds.

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