According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1.7 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury every year. Traumatic brain injury, otherwise known as TBI, can be caused by a variety of mishaps, from motorcycle accidents to sports injuries.
Given the large number of TBIs that occur every year, and their potentially devastating effects, brain injury research is a hot topic in the medical field, with over $30 million in government funds being expended since 2002 in the search for treatments. One potential TBI treatment that has been generating buzz in the medical community is a supplement known as citicoline.
Citicoline is marketed around the world as a memory booster, being sold in over-the-counter powders and drinks. It is also widely used by doctors to treat traumatic brain injuries and strokes, although evidence on its effectiveness has been mixed. Even the U.S. military had high hopes about using citicoline to speed soldiers’ recovery after suffering a TBI.
However, the latest and most thorough study of citicoline had disappointing results. Unfortunately, citicoline may not be the breakthrough TBI sufferers have long been waiting for.
The recent study was published in the November, 2012 Journal of the American Medical Association. It involved 1,213 patients aged 18 and older at eight U.S. trauma centers; all suffered from mild to severe traumatic brain injuries.
Half the patients in the study received citicoline within 24 hours of being injured. The citicoline doses were continued daily for three months, each at 2,000 milligrams, which is much higher than the amount used in over-the-counter products. The other half of patients were given a placebo, and all patients were followed for a total of six months.
Most of the patients showed measured improvement in memory, learning and other cognitive functions. However, those on the citicoline supplement fared no better than patients receiving the dummy treatment. Among those with the mildest injuries, the patients taking citicoline actually did slightly worse. A total of 73 patients died from their injuries during the study, with the number of deaths in each group about equal.
“We were very much disappointed,” Dr. Ross Zafonte told USA Today. Dr. Zafonte was the lead author of the study and is a traumatic brain injury expert at Harvard Medical School. “We took a therapy that is utilized worldwide and we found that at least its present use should be called into question.”
The results of the new TBI research dashed the hopes of many in the medical community. There is still no effective treatment for traumatic brain injuries beyond the normal healing process.
For many victims of traumatic brain injury, recovery is slow. For severe TBIs, the health consequences can be lifelong. Tragically, with the failure of citicoline as a miracle cure, this means more steep medical bills and ongoing pain and suffering.
If you have suffered a traumatic injury, or if a loved one has sustained a TBI, you likely need money to pay for medical bills, to replace lost wages and as compensation for pain and suffering related to the injury. Such compensation may be available from the person or entity responsible for causing the accident that led to the TBI. Consult an attorney today to learn more about the benefits that may be available through a personal injury lawsuit.