Nation

Studies say progesterone fails to help brain injuries

Giving people with fresh traumatic brain injuries the hormone progesterone does no good, two major studies have found. The results dash some high hopes for treating a problem that affects millions each year, from combat troops to car crash victims.

Brain injuries account for more than 2 million hospitalizations or emergency room visits each year in the United States and often cause major disabilities. Roadside bombs have increased the number of troops suffering from the injuries, too.

Advertisement

Some drugs can reduce symptoms, such as swelling, but none are known to improve long-term recovery and prevent disability. Work in animals and two very encouraging small trials in people suggested progesterone might.

It is a female sex hormone that is thought to protect nerves and brain cells in a variety of ways, including curbing inflammation that causes swelling after an injury.

The two new studies were meant to be definitive tests.

Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.
We hope you've enjoyed your free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to Globe.com for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com