Big disappointment in brain injury treatment study

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Several studies in humans examined citicoline as a possible treatment for strokes but had mixed results. Still, it is widely used in Europe and Japan to treat strokes and brain injuries. The product used in the study is made by the Spanish pharmaceutical company Ferrer Grupo, which makes prescription-grade citicoline.

Dr. Steven Zeisel, a choline scientist and director of the University of North Carolina’s Nutrition Research Institute, said it’s still possible citicoline would work if used in combination with other potential treatments, but to determine that would require another rigorous and costly study. He was not involved in the research.

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development helped pay for the study, along with grants from several universities. The government institute has spent nearly $30 million since 2002 to fund a research network seeking treatments for traumatic brain injuries.

The citicoline results were eagerly anticipated in a military-commissioned Institute of Medicine report last year on potential nutritional treatments for traumatic brain injury. Besides citicoline, the report said other nutrients being studied held some promise, including fatty acids and zinc.

Zafonte, the study’s lead author, was on the committee that wrote the report.

“It’s back to the drawing board,” he said. “We all had such hope this would make some difference.”

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Online:

JAMA: http://www.jama.com

Traumatic brain injury: http://1.usa.gov/yDji9T

CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/TraumaticBrainInjury

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AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/LindseyTanner

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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