Thursday, 28 April 2011

Study Suggests Antidepressants Can Help Treat TBI

A new study indicates to Los Angeles brain injury lawyers that the use of antidepressants, common after a brain injury because of the high risk of depression among these patients, may not only help treat these emotional problems, but also actually treat the brain injury itself.

Depression is a frequent side effect of a traumatic brain injury, and doctors have typically prescribed antidepressants to help patients with these symptoms. However, this study shows that antidepressants can not only help treat symptoms of depression, but also help brain cells survive and thrive, which is critical for the treatment of brain injury.

In the study, whose results have been published in the Journal of Neurotrauma this month, researchers found that mice with brain injuries showed substantially improved memory, and increased brain function after they were treated with antidepressants. The researchers induced traumatic brain injury in the mice, and treated them with antidepressants. They found that after about four weeks, the mice that had been treated with antidepressants showed 70% more brain cells than those mice that did not receive the antidepressant therapy.

The researchers also conducted an object recognition test to understand whether the antidepressants contributed to any enhanced brain functioning. The mice were shown new objects, and the researchers analyzed how long the mice stared at the objects. If the mice stared at a particular object for a long time, then it indicated enhanced memory, because of the novelty of the object. The researchers found that the mice that were given the antidepressant therapy spent an average of about 15% more time looking at the new objects. However, the researchers also found that the use of antidepressants didn't seem to help much with mobility and motor functions.

More research is needed to confirm the benefits of antidepressant therapy on the treatment of TBI. These initial findings look promising, and could possibly benefit patients with mild or moderate brain injury.

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