Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Penn Researchers Explain The Mechanics Behind The Delayed Effects Of Brain Trauma; Findings May Chart Paths To Therapeutic Relief

Date:
April 4, 2001
Source:
University Of Pennsylvania Medical Center
Summary:
The initial twist and snap of physical injury to nerve cells and fibers in the brain during head trauma is only the beginning of the damage. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center have determined that one of the initial events triggering these long-term problems includes a massive flood of calcium ions, electrically charged calcium atoms, that enter axons following brain trauma.

(Philadelphia, PA) – The initial twist and snap of physical injury to nerve cells and fibers in the brain during head trauma is only the beginning of the damage. In particular, the stretching of nerve fibers, or "axons", can induce progressive damage leading to long-term problems such as memory dysfunction and difficulties with concentration.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center have determined that one of the initial events triggering these long-term problems includes a massive flood of calcium ions, electrically charged calcium atoms, that enter axons following brain trauma. In addition, their study suggests a possible course of treatment for this pathologic process. The results of the study are published in The Journal of Neuroscience’s March issue.

Previously, researchers had only postulated that calcium entry into damaged axons was an important indicator for the start of progressive damage. Now this has not only been demonstrated, but a mechanism of this calcium entry has been discovered. "It appears that that the physical motions of trauma literally tears open proteins that act as gates on the axon membrane," explains Douglas Smith, MD, an associate professor in the Penn Department of Neurosurgery.

Surprisingly, the gates that were forced open were not for calcium ions, but for sodium ions. "We have now found that it is the rapid flow of sodium ions through the damaged gates that triggers a subsequent inflow of calcium ions," said Smith. "With this knowledge, we can evaluate therapies that block the sodium channels."

Early therapy targeting sodium channels may be critical to preventing the progressive damage to axons, which has been previously found by this research team. "It can be hours, even months, after a head injury before the damage to the axons becomes so severe that the neurons can no longer function," says Smith. "There is currently no cure to stop the delayed effect of head trauma, but we are convinced that the damage can be slowed down and, eventually, even stopped."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Pennsylvania Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Pennsylvania Medical Center. "Penn Researchers Explain The Mechanics Behind The Delayed Effects Of Brain Trauma; Findings May Chart Paths To Therapeutic Relief." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 April 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/04/010402072253.htm>.
University Of Pennsylvania Medical Center. (2001, April 4). Penn Researchers Explain The Mechanics Behind The Delayed Effects Of Brain Trauma; Findings May Chart Paths To Therapeutic Relief. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/04/010402072253.htm
University Of Pennsylvania Medical Center. "Penn Researchers Explain The Mechanics Behind The Delayed Effects Of Brain Trauma; Findings May Chart Paths To Therapeutic Relief." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/04/010402072253.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Researchers say women who diet at a young age are at greater risk of developing harmful health habits, including eating disorders and alcohol abuse. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins