Can Xenon Prevent TBI Symptoms After an Accident?
In emergency medicine, there is a one-hour time period known as the “Golden Hour.” This term refers to the one-hour window where a patient’s chances of survival are highest. Dr. R. Adams Cowley, MD coined the term during his personal experiences in post-World War II Europe. He recognized that trauma patients had a better chance of survival if they reached definitive care within 60 minutes of being injured. To this day, first responders keep the Golden Hour in mind when providing medical treatment to accident victims suffering from brain injuries, blood loss, and other potentially fatal medical conditions.
Xenon & the Golden Hour
Xenon is a noble gas that is used in light manufacturing, jet propellent, and anesthesia drugs. A recent study published by researchers from Imperial College London and Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz claims that xenon can prevent brain tissue damage if it is applied within a few hours of a patient sustaining a TBI. Ideally, this could protect accident victims from sustaining the long-term cognitive problems associated with TBI.
The study tracked three different sets of laboratory mice:
- Mice given a TBI and treated with a placebo gas.
- Mice given a TBI and treated with a xenon-based gas.
- A control group that was not given TBI or gas.
The researches studies he mice for 20 months and the conclusions were incredibly promising. According to their results, xenon gas “prevents early death and long-term cognitive impairment and protects brain tissue itself in mice. The xenon-treated mice had a similar life expectancy, cognitive function, and brain tissue integrity, to mice that had never sustained a TBI.”
Rich Hardy, a reporter for New Atlas, interviewed Dr. Rita Campos-Pires, the lead author on the study, about the results of this research. as she explained, “Xenon appears to act in a variety of ways, but one of the most likely mechanisms to explain its protective effects on brain tissue is by inhibiting receptors in the brain known as NMDA receptors, that become over-activated following a brain injury.” Hardy adds that xenon has already established a “positive safety profile in humans,” and that doctors are aware of known side effects associated with this gas. This means that first responders and emergency rooms can utilize xenon gas as a preventative treatment method for patients with brain injuries.
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