After realizing that women generally recover better than men in the wake of a major head injury, scientists began studying the affects of female sex hormones on brain trauma. A study on pregnant rats with brain injuries found that animals with pregnancy hormones healed better than those without – and that doses of progesterone could possibly aide both men and women in a faster, better recovering following a traumatic brain injury.
Currently, no drug exists to aid in the recovery of a traumatic brain injury.
Thirty-year-old Andrea Vellinga suffered a traumatic brain injury when the stage collapsed at a concert she was attending. As doctors rushed to save her life, they asked her family if they would like to participate in the new progesterone study – she would either receive the sex hormone progesterone or a placebo, and neither she nor her doctors would know which.
One brain injury victim enters the drug trial
Eight months after the study, Vellinga has had a very impressive recovery, though she still has a long road ahead of her before a complete recovery. She has required multiple surgeries and does not have complete use of her left arm, but she is playing with her young daughter and enjoying life. Still, because it is a double-blind study, she doesn’t know if the drug is responsible for her results.