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Michigan hospital contributes to study on closed head injuries

Doctors around the world are seeking ways to better treat men and women with a dangerous form of brain injury and two hospitals in Michigan will be aiding in the effort.

The study focuses in on severe closed head injuries and whether or not progesterone, which is a natural hormone, can be used to decrease swelling in such cases. Men and women that sustain brain injuries due to blunt trauma run the risk of having their brain tissue swell. If this happens, the individual runs the risk of permanent disability or even death. Up until now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not had have a standardized drug to be used for these situations. This study hopes to change that.

St. Mary's of Michigan, a hospital in Saginaw, will be participating in the two-year study and hopefully help find answers to what has been an unsolvable phenomenon up until now. If the study, which will offer a placebo to some patients, shows that progesterone is effective, the FDA would possibly approve it for widespread use.

Progesterone is a hormone found in the human body. It is produced by cells in the brain and doctors believe that its ability to regulate swelling can offer benefits to those with brain injuries.

Previous studies that implemented progesterone in reducing brain swelling has proven effective.

The study could touch the lives of tens of thousands of people throughout the country. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that 1.5 million people in the U.S. suffer traumatic brain injuries per year, 50,000 of those fatal.

St. Mary's medical institution's neurosciences department has studied such brain issues as stroke, multiple sclerosis and brain cancer in the past.

Aside from the two Michigan hospitals participating in the study, hospitals from 22 different countries also join the effort.

Source: Saginaw News, "International study on closed head injury care includes St. Mary's of Michigan hospital's Field Neurosciences Institute," Lindsay Knake, April, 5, 2012

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