University of Virginia Researchers Closer to Treatment for Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries

New Brain Injury Treatment Research
The litigation team here at Blankingship & Keith regularly represents clients who have suffered traumatic brain injuries (TBI). TBI can cause a host of physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and behavioral effects, and is referred to as the “invisible injury,” because its often-devastating impacts are masked by the absence of any obvious continuing physical trauma. Fortunately, we have seen some promising developments in diagnosis and treatment of TBI.
One recent development may prove to be a critical step in harnessing the body’s defenses to improve treatment for spine injuries, brain trauma, and other neurodegenerative conditions. Recently, researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, after discovering a protective form of immune response to spinal cord injury, announced they have pinpointed the biological trigger for that response. 
The researchers discovered that the molecule interleukin-33, which is concentrated in what is known as “white matter” in the healthy brain and spinal cord, is released upon injury and activates cells called glia, which starts the body’s protective response and promotes recovery.
These findings could lead to both improved treatments and new diagnostic tests for brain injuries.
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