Progesterone Case Study: Remarkable Recovery

The story of one young man gives researchers like Dr. David Wright great hope that progesterone can be an effective treatment to help people recover from moderate to severe TBI.

See more videos with Dr. David Wright.

So, Mark came in with a very severe traumatic brain injury-- what we call a Glasgow Coma Scale of 4-- somewhere around 4 to 6--when he came in. There was limited expectation that he would recover fully. Most people who come in with that level of impairment either die or have a devastating long-term outcome. Mark was one of our hero stories. He was in the first trial--the safety trial in 2001. You know, it's quite a remarkable story. His parents came basically to the ER to say goodbye, and Mark was enrolled in the trial. At the time, we didn't know whether he got the study drug or placebo because it was a blinded trial. At the end of the trial, we were able to break the blinding and realize that this gentleman was in the treatment group. Why that's remarkable is because he had an unbelievable recovery. Mark basically is back to his normal self. He's essentially a weight-lifter, athletic individual. We're very proud of him and very happy that he's done so well. Now, we can't for sure say that progesterone was the reason why he recovered so well, but it certainly gives us hope. Traumatic brain injury is tricky. There are a number of patients who come in who are severely injured who actually do quite well. The reason behind that is not really well known. There are individual genetic characteristics and the type of injury they had and things like that that play a role. But the fact that he was so severely injured and did well and was in the treatment group gives us a lot of hope. We're studying progesterone for use in severe and moderate TBI which we think is very important because it will help show functional improvement as opposed to just improving death. There's no reason to think that it wouldn't work for mild, but we haven't studied that.
Posted on BrainLine October 25, 2012. Reviewed July 25, 2018.

Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough, Ashley Gilleland, Justin Rhodes, and Erica Queen, BrainLine.