From the archive, originally posted by: [ mmm ]

Female hormone may treat brain injuries

NEW YORK (Reuters) — Treatment with progesterone, a well-known
hormone that prepares the womb for pregnancy, safely reduces the risk
of death and disability in people who suffer a traumatic brain injury,
new research suggests.

Animal studies have indicated that giving progesterone soon after
injury reduces brain swelling, prevents nerve death and improves
functional outcomes. Lead researcher Dr. David W. Wright and
colleagues note that progesterone’s advantages over other potential
treatments include its ability to quickly enter the brain, history of
safe use, ease of administration, and low cost.

Wright, from Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues included in
their study 100 adults with brain injury who reached the emergency
department within 11 hours of injury. Patients were randomly assigned
to receive an intravenous dose of progesterone or inactive “placebo.”

The death rate in the 30 days after injury was 13 percent in the
progesterone group compared with 30 percent in the comparison group.
This suggests that progesterone cut the risk of death by 57 percent.

Aside from some minor inflammation at the progesterone injection site,
the side effects seen with the hormone were comparable to those
observed with placebo. No serious side effects were seen in either

Wright’s team was able to contact 92 percent of patients who survived
30 days. There was evidence that progesterone improved the recovery of
patients with moderate brain injury. Patients with severe injury
seemed to glean no benefit from the hormone.

One-year outcomes will be reported later, the authors note. Still, the
findings are encouraging and indicate the need for additional studies
to investigate this topic further.

Copyright 2006 Reuters. All rights reserved.