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Recent Study Shows an Old Medication offers New Hope for Patients with Traumatic Brain Injury

According to a recent study by the New England Journal of Medicine, Amantadine accelerated the pace of functional recovery during active treatment in patients with post-traumatic disorders of consciousness.

Over the past several years, Amantadine has been used for multiple treatments for ailments, including flu and Alzheimer’s. This latest study suggests that when Amantadine is given to patients with severe brain injuries, recovery results were markedly improved.

Neuropsychologist Joseph Giacino of Boston’s Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, co-leader of the study said : “This drug moved the needle in terms of speeding patient recovery, and that’s not been shown before … It really does provide hope for a population that is viewed in many places as hopeless.”

Study co-leader, John Whyte, M.D., Ph.D, Director of Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute says, “Now that we know that amantadine can accelerate neurologic recovery, we need to explore the dose and treatment schedule that provides the greatest and most durable treatment impact … Importantly, this study adds to the growing evidence that patients with disorders of consciousness have rehabilitation potential that we are just beginning to tap.”

Doctors have been utilizing Amantadine for several years to treat brain injuries, however there has never been a wide-ranging study of this magnitude to evaluate the results. The new findings are an important step in the right direction, but many questions remain. It is not yet known whether the drug will help patients that have less severe injuries, or also whether Amantadine will speed traumatic brain injury recovery in the long term.

Read more at the New England Journal of Medicine site.

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