In 2015, increased research funding for both military-related traumatic
brain injury (TBI) and sport-related chronic traumatic encephalopathy
(CTE) led to some notable advances in the understanding of and treatment
for TBI. The outcomes of more robust clinical trials provided some long-awaited
definitive answers to previously ambiguous research findings. And new
findings in preclinical trials are providing some new directions for the
future. The following are some highlights from the last year in research:
- Despite promising results in pre-clinical trials, erythopoietin failed
to show any benefit over a placebo for the treatment of moderate to severe
TBI during a large, randomized controlled clinical trial.
- After years of mixed research results, mild-to-moderate hypothermia has
shown a benefit in the treatment of intracranial pressure (an inflammatory
response from the TBI that can produce dangerous secondary injury).
- Researchers have identified a cerebrospinal fluid pathway, where proteins,
toxins, and other substances are cleared from the brain during sleep—this
opening the door for novel diagnostic tools and treatments for TBI.