Nanoparticle for Correcting Blood Flow in the BrainCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: August 31, 2012 04:01PM
Even though it was well over a decade ago, I can still remember the time I had a concussion. Fortunately it was very mild and before an hour passed, I was fine, but many other people are not so lucky with traumatic brain injuries. As devastating as some injuries may seem though, sometimes it is after the original trauma that the real damage occurs to the brain. Disruptions in blood flow to the brain can hurt it greatly and now researchers at Rice University have what they believe is a very effective nanoparticle treatment for normalizing it.
The vascular system has many tools to regulate itself so blood pressure never gets too high or too low in the brain. Among them are superoxide (SO) and superoxide dismutase (SOD), with SO having the potential to go past its autoregulatory abilities and cause many problems, and SOD responsible for keeping SO in check. After a traumatic brain injury though, so much SO may be released that the SOD cannot control it, which causes not only blood pressure issues but also other chemicals to be made which can damage the brain. The nanoparticle the Rice researchers tested, polyethylene glycol-hydrophilic carbon clusters (PEG-HCC), was able to neutralize SO very effectively though, and they hope it may one day be used by emergency responders on their patients.
The nanoparticle has already been tested in living tissue and been shown effective in all three tests, so the researchers are confident the teams that try to replicate their results will also be successful. This researchers may affect more than just brain injuries as organ transplant patients may see a benefit from it as well.