Progesterone Shows Promise as Treatment for Traumatic Brain Injury

Armen Hareyan's picture

Brain Injury Treatment

Emory University researchers have found that giving progesterone to trauma victims shortly following brain injury may reduce the risk of death and the degree of disability and also appears to be safe. The results of this study - the first clinical trial of its kind in the world - are available online in the October issue of the peer-reviewed journal, Annals of Emergency Medicine. Researchers say the next step will be to confirm their findings in a much larger group of traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients.

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"Progesterone treatment for TBI has been extensively studied in laboratory animals for more than 15 years, but this is the world's first use of progesterone to treat brain injury in humans," says Arthur Kellermann, MD, MPH, professor and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine and a co-author of the study. "Emory scientist Donald Stein was the first to discover that progesterone has neuroprotective effects, and much of the foundational work on progesterone for TBI was from his laboratory. Their results were so impressive, that we felt it was time to take this treatment to the bedside for testing in patients who had suffered a serious brain injury. We are grateful to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (a division of the National Institutes of Health) for their support of this work," says Kellermann.

Approximately 1.5 to 2 million people in the U.S. sustain a