Archive for the ‘Brain Injury’ Category

Does Resveratrol Heal Damage From a Concussion?

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011
Does resveratrol heal damage from a concussion? This is the question researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas hope to answer.  Five professional boxers are participating in the study which began in April. The boxers will be given an MRI and a cognitive test to determine the effectiveness of resveratrol. The researchers expect to release the results by December of this year – but are extremely optimistic.
According to Dr. Joshua Gatson, a researcher in the study:  Resveratrol is a “very potent anti inflammatory in the brain and following injury, concussions in most of the athletes are not really treated with anything besides probably aspirin, light exercise and rest, so we decided to use a compound that can help improve or repair the brain at a faster rate."   
What’s more, Dr. Gaston stated, "We came up with the idea to treat sports concussions with a compound that's relatively safe and can eliminate a lot of the secondary brain injury that you see following concussions."
Editor’s Note: Let’s hope the results are positive - there is good reason to expect they will be. Not only has resveratrol shown promise in treating neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, but resveratrol has been shown to increase plasticity in the brain – that is, the ability of the brain to increase and alter neuronal connections (thereby overcoming brain injury). Further, adding to the optimism, resveratrol has been shown to pass the blood brain barrier – in other words, resveratrol, as a very small molecule, has shown that, in vivo, it can enter the brain when taken orally – not an easy or common task.  As such, it can treat the brain whereas many compounds cannot.

Could Resveratrol Help Congresswoman Giffords?

Saturday, May 21st, 2011
Could Resveratrol Help Congresswoman Giffords and other people recovering from brain injuries?   According to a studies conducted by MIT and the New York Institute of Technology this very well might be the case. 
The studies reveal that resveratrol induced SIRT1 activation increases plasticity of the brain, or the ability of the brain to change (for instance, by enhancing connections between neurons – AKA synaptic plasticity) (Note: this is in addition to fighting neurodegeneratative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and increasing blood flow to the brain).
After the brain suffers a traumatic injury, such as the gunshot wound suffered by the Congresswoman, the brain must adapt in order to perform the functions it once did. In other words, the non damaged parts of the brain learn how to take over the functions that were lost.  In short, the brain must change in order to compensate.
Traditional brain injury therapies such as cognitive games, physical activities, art, and music have been found to increase plasticity – thus speeding recovery. From the above mentioned two recent studies, it is very likely that resveratrol can complement these therapies, thus improving the quality of life of the injured. 
According to the lead author of the MIT study, Li-Huei Tsai:
 “We demonstrated previously that Sirtuin1 promotes neuronal survival in age-dependent neurodegenerative disorders. In our cell and mouse models for Alzheimer’s disease, SIRT1 promoted neuronal survival, reduced neurodegeneration and prevented learning impairment…We have now found that SIRT1 activity also promotes plasticity and memory”

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