Early intervention following traumatic brain injury reduces risk of dementia Parkinsons stroke

The average age of someone who suffers a traumatic brain injury is nearly 70 a trend thats likely to continue upward for some time even as people live longer.

A study published today in Neurology the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology suggests the addition of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to a persons overall care after a traumatic brain injury would help lessen the eventual risk of developing dementia or Parkinsons.

As our picture of how this procedure is improving for critically ill patients in intensive care units and our ability to advocate for the best for patients through effective early intervention it is clear that our lessons are being passed along said Human Physiologic Institute director of cognitive and brain injury at Lurie Childrens Research Hospital and former Northwestern Medicine scientist with a focus on animal models.

The point of this study is just to encourage folks at the earliest stages of injury to know that theres a risk to continue to do this.

For the new study researchers presented 204 patients with childbirth and made them attend two-hour cognitive behavioral therapy sessions delivered in collaboration with clinicians at a Normal Good Neighbor Hospital in Chicago. The sessions involved free daily information about the University of Chicago Health Behavioral Health Network. This network of participating hospitals treats acute neurocritical care patients who are exposed to stressors such as shock auto-illness vascular disease and organ failure at a very early stage of their post-injury care.

Participants reported care tolerance the amount of time it took to reach agreement on the trials main outcomes as the primary metric used to assess participants hospital-based care. A second metric was compared to baseline and better-measureable measures of symptom severity.

Researchers also examined the effect of adding cognitive behavioral therapy for patients in labor to their overall care. This approach involves giving neurofeedback or other positive interventions while drowning or soothing their body or simply looking at their eyes as they shake off symptoms lasting at least 2-3 months.

Cellular impact.

We found that early cognitive behavioral therapy is non-invasive said Dr. Lee Strode senior author on the study and professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. It wasnt an implant. It just works.

Research suggests that focus on cognitive improvement will benefit most clinically if the medication is delivered during the initial hour after injury Strode said.

Early intervention with cognitive behavioral therapy can modify cell-cell communication the cognitive process leading to learning and problem-solving he explained. Thats a continuous cycle right there. It increases our ability to learn as much as possible from this level of intra-neuronal (connectivity) activity and connect with it in a meaningful way.

Some research suggests that doing this early in injury could provide similar benefits for patients who do not respond well to traditional treatment but not often receive clinical trials suggested Strode.

There are going to be trajectories where youre going to have patients over time who dont respond to pharmacological interventions and who are fine to start with he said. Then youre going to need to look at early cognitive behavioral therapy and whats going to work successfully for them.

Future research could evaluate the effectiveness of early cognitive behavioral therapy while decreasing the need for pharmacological interventions Strode said.

Weve been following these patients since day one and there havent been a lot of positive findings yet; because up to this point we didnt have data on behavioral load or frequency of symptoms Strode said. It wasnt until we looked at all these various factors that we felt it was a good opportunity to take this evidence and put it together to suggest that early cognitive behavioral therapy might be an attractive option for a subset of these patients and start with it.