New Concussion Medication May Aid in Preventing CTE
Concussion prevention and treatment protocols have received a lot of press in recent years as high school, collegiate, and pro sports teams began taking the issue very seriously. In February 2017, NASCAR expanding the sanctioning body's concussion protocol for competitors. Screening tools were added to all racing venues and a partnership with AMR provided increased neurological support (SCAT-3 Diagnostic Tool) for race event weekends. During the racing season, race fans may have noticed that drivers were required to visit the Infield Care Center more often, even after relatively minor crashes.
Now an assistant professor and medical researcher at Florida State University, with a personal tie to concussions, is working toward a medical solution for problems caused by concussions. As a young man, Jake VanLandingham was attacked and landed on the ground with his head hitting the pavement. He was treated by ER doctors and released. However, the next day he was found lying on his apartment floor by a family friend and rushed back to the hospital. It was determined he had three blood clots in his brain and could have died without immediate treatment.
After receiving a Ph.D. in neuroscience, Jake VanLandingham joined the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Florida State University and started working on a better way of treating concussed patients early on. The new medication (Prevasol) that Dr. VanLandingham is developing can be delivered through the sinuses as a nasal spray. This quick delivery drug acts in three ways: 1) reduces inflammation of the brain; 2) takes additional fluid off of the brain to reduce swelling; and 3) minimizes the body's stress reaction. The goal is that such a drug can be administered quickly to dramatically reduce the long-term effects of mild traumatic brain injuries.
In 2016, the results of a three-year study of the brains of deceased NFL players, who had donated their brains to science, concluded that of the 111 brains, 110 showed signs of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a progressive degenerative disease found in people with a history of repetitive brain trauma due to hits to the head. The goal of researchers like Dr. VanLandingham is not only to bring awareness to the problem but also to find treatments for preventing future cases of CTE.
Photo courtesy of dreamstime.com