Friedman, Hirschen & Miller, LLP

Approximately 5 million people in the U.S. are living with the after-effects of a traumatic brain injury. A TBI, as it's known, can occur as a result of sporting activity or auto accident and can be very debilitating for sufferers and their families.

However, a new study brings hope for victims of chronic neurological dysfunction caused by a TBI or stroke. The study revealed that a single dose of the drug etanercept improves brain function for sufferers-even years after the damaging incident.

Patients included in the study

The study, soon to be published in the Adis journal CNS Drugs this upcoming December, was conducted at the Institute of Neurological Recovery, or INR. Hundreds of patients were observed over a two-year period. Of the 629 patients studied, 617 had been treated for stroke for an average of 42 months. Twelve of the patients had suffered a TBI and had been treated for an average of 115 months.

All patients studied were given etanercept, a therapeutic drug that neutralizes an inflammatory immune molecule common in stroke victims. (The drug is thought to target parts of the brain inflamed due to the stroke or TBI.)

Surprising results

Surprisingly, over the two year period, researchers found positive improvements in patients. They improved in areas of motor impairment, spasticity, cognition, among others. In some cases, patients were found to improve significantly.

The results of the study offers exciting news for brain injury sufferers. It is the first real advancement in post-hospital treatment for survivors of stroke and TBI.

According to some experts in the field, radical breakthroughs such as these don't come along very often. The last step forward was through the use of tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) to treat suffers of acute stroke, but only during the early stages.

It remains to be seen what advancements will continue for TBI and stroke victims. Individuals living with this condition face tough obstacles.

Fortunately, compensation is available for people suffering from TBI as a result of another's negligence. If you have been injured in an auto accident that resulted in a traumatic brain injury, consulting with an attorney is advised.