Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have identified a protein that can cause damaging inflammation in patients with traumatic brain injuries. They have also found that the protein, which is produced by the liver, can be blocked by a drug used to treat high blood pressure. The research could lead to better TBI treatments in Pennsylvania and worldwide.

Researchers found that when a person suffers a TBI, the liver increases production of a protein that causes brain inflammation by up to 1,000 times. This inflammation leads to reduced blood flow, nerve cell death and tissue damage. Until now, doctors have had no way to reduce the body’s inflammation response to TBI. However, the authors of the study found that small doses of the hypertension drug telmisartan blocked production of a molecule needed to produce the protein. This led to a significant reduction in brain inflammation.

Earlier research by the same team found that another hypertension drug, known as candesartan, had a similar impact on brain inflammation. The researchers said doctors can administer these drugs up to six hours after TBI to reduce inflammation, bleeding and swelling.

Approximately 1.7 million Americans have a TBI each year. The condition causes 275,000 hospitalizations and 52,000 deaths annually. A person who has been the victim of an accident that caused a brain injury could be left with a permanent disability that requires long-term care. If the accident was the result of the negligence of another party, the victim may want to consult with an attorney to determine the recourse that may be available. In some cases, it may be advisable to seek compensation for the damages that have been and will be sustained through a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party.