The study, conducted by University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers, supports the treatment at a cellular level, and could pave the way for a new treatment for concussions in the future. A traumatic impact to the brain can turn on biochemical pathways that lead to neurodegeneration, the progressive deterioration and loss of function in brain cells. Neurodegeneration causes long-lasting and potentially devastating health issues for patients – highlighting the need for treatments.
After six hours of cooling, the researchers brought the concussed brain cells back up to normal body temperature, curious about whether warming would cause the damaging biochemical pathways to turn on. Franck says there’s more to learn before cooling the brain could be a practical treatment for patients at a clinic, and that isolating cooling to the brain is vital.