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New Traumatic Brain Injury Study Unveils Potential Treatment

SAN FRANCISCO, California — A groundbreaking study conducted by scientists at Gladstone Institutes has shed light on the underlying mechanisms of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and unveiled a potential new treatment. Published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation on April 19th, 2024, the research elucidates how TBIs trigger neurodegeneration and proposes a targeted approach to prevent long-term damage.

TBIs affect approximately 1.5 million Americans each year, stemming from various causes such as falls, car accidents, violent assaults, sports injuries, or military operations. Despite the widespread prevalence of these injuries, effective treatments have been notably absent.

Led by Dr. Jae Kyu Ryu, a scientific program leader in the lab of Dr. Katerina Akassoglou at Gladstone Institutes, the traumatic brain injury study aimed to understand the molecular processes underlying brain damage. The team focused on the role of fibrin, a blood protein, in exacerbating the detrimental effects of such injuries.

Previous research has indicated the presence of fibrin in the brain after TBIs, but its specific contribution to neurodegeneration has remained unclear until now. Using state-of-the-art imaging technology, the researchers examined mouse brains as well as the brains of individuals who had experienced TBIs. Their findings revealed that fibrin plays a causative role in turning beneficial immune cells into harmful agents, leading to inflammation and neuronal death.

Dr. Lennart Mucke, director of the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease, emphasized the significance of the study’s findings in mitigating the devastating consequences of brain injuries. He expressed optimism about the potential of fibrin-targeted therapies to improve outcomes for TBI patients, addressing cognitive impairments, emotional challenges, and motor deficits associated with these injuries.

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