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Testing A New Drug For Traumatic Brain Injury

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Doctors across the country will be trying out a new treatment for traumatic brain injury. UT Southwestern, the National Institutes of Health and other partners announced today that they’ll study a new drug that could help stop bleeding in the brain.

Traumatic brain injuries can happen to anyone – a kid playing football, someone who slips and falls, a driver in a car crash. Over the past decade, the rate of emergency department visits for those injuries surged by 70 percent. But doctors like Ahamed Idris say treatment is still limited.

“There have been no new medications for traumatic brain injury for the last thirty years,” Idris says. He’s professor of emergency medicine and internal medicine at UT Southwestern and principal investigator for the trial of a drug called Tranexamic Acid, or TXA.

“The study we will be kicking off,” he says, “involves paramedics in the field giving TXA as early as possible after injury.”

Idris says the drug helps stabilize blood clots that are formed to stop bleeding in the brain. While some studies have shown it’s helpful for people with acute trauma, none have been large enough to offer definitive results. Idris says four emergency medical services and seven trauma centers across Dallas-Fort Worth will participate in the new study, which is expected to take a year to complete.

Lauren Silverman was the Health, Science & Technology reporter/blogger at KERA News. She was also the primary backup host for KERA’s Think and the statewide newsmagazine  Texas Standard. In 2016, Lauren was recognized as Texas Health Journalist of the Year by the Texas Medical Association. She was part of the Peabody Award-winning team that covered Ebola for NPR in 2014. She also hosted "Surviving Ebola," a special that won Best Long Documentary honors from the Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). And she's won a number of regional awards, including an honorable mention for Edward R. Murrow award (for her project “The Broken Hip”), as well as the Texas Veterans Commission’s Excellence in Media Awards in the radio category.