Flu Medicine Accelerates Brain Injury Recovery

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Researchers found evidence of new medicines to speed up the recovery of severe brain injury from a fall or car accident, which is flu medicine.

Patients with severe brain injury who are given amantadine are able to heal faster than those given a dummy drug. After four weeks of treatment, patients given amantadine have been able to answer yes-no questions, follow orders or use a spoon and a hairbrush.

A study on 184 brain injury patients in the U.S., Germany and Denmark also found that there are fewer patients who receive amantadine remained in a vegetative state (17 percent) than those given a dummy drug as much as 32 percent.

“These drugs speed up the healing that had never been seen before,” says neuropsychologist Joseph Giacino from Boston Hospital.

Giaciano who led the study added, “This drug gives new hope,” he told CTVNews.

Amantadine is getting more often used to treat brain injuries in recent years. But there are no studies yet that demonstrate the efficacy of these drugs specifically.

A neurologist who was not involved in this study said the finding represent an important step. But questioned the effectiveness of amantadine, whether it gives long-term benefits or simply speed up recovery.

Amantadine is a drug commonly used as a generic flu drug in the mid-1960s. Other benefits of this drug began to be seen when Amantadine improves the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in elderly patients. This drug affects the dopamine system of the brain, which regulate the function of movement and vigilance, so that it is approved as Parkinson’s disease drug. The research was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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