Future Treatments for Brain Injury, Not Just Brain Injury Symptoms

Dr. Robert Cantu talks about various therapies like hyperbaric oxygen chambers and omega-3 fatty acids that may prove to be effective ways to treat brain injury, not just its symptoms.

See more clips with Dr. Robert Cantu.

[Dr. Robert Cantu] Well I think the therapies have gotten better, but I think what we desperately need are medications that are going to the heart of the problem. When we use pharmacology, we use pharmacology to treat the symptoms. We're not really healing the brain. We're not really giving anything that we're aware of that will allow the brain to heal better. There are therapies like a hyperoxygenation chamber, hyperbaric oxygenation chambers, the omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins. These are all therapies that are being studied. They've not been proven by double-blinded prospective studies to actually work. With regard to the search for biomarkers, we're very much involved—when I say we I mean many different research centers— looking for them, both potential biomarkers that would be in the blood or the spinal fluid and biomarkers that could possibly be on an imaging study, such as volume-averaging MRI or diffusion tensor imaging MRI or functional MRI or magnetic spectroscopy MRI, but right now those are still research tools, although the diffusion tensor imaging MRI is looking awfully promising, and I wouldn't be surprised if within a year or two both it and functional MRI were not part of our clinical armamentarium. What we really need is something that's attacking the underlying problem itself, and right now we really don't know of something that's doing that.
Posted on BrainLine August 30, 2013. Reviewed July 25, 2018.

Produced by Noel Gunther and Erica Queen, BrainLine.