Antidepressants 'can assist in recovery from brain injuries'

Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs

A new study has revealed the potential role antidepressants can play in protecting and stimulating brain cell growth following a traumatic brain injury.

Neurosurgeons at the University of Rochester Medical Center have published research in the Journal of Neurotrauma showing that brain injury patients prescribed with antidepressants often benefit in unexpected ways, such as experiencing memory improvements.

Studying this trend among mice, it was discovered that the drug imipramine boosted the number of neurons in the hippocampus by 70 percent, making the subjects more likely to benefit from better memories.

As yet, it is unknown whether or not this is due to the drug helping to create new neurons or encouraging the survival of the cells, but the discovery could nevertheless offer insight into the way the brain heals itself after injury.

Study leader Dr Jason Huang said: "Our goal is to learn more about that mechanism and improve it, to help patients recover even more brain function than they can now, even with extensive work and rehabilitation."

Last month, a paper published in the Photomedicine and Laser Surgery journal showed self-administered light therapy via LEDs could help to restore cognitive functionality following brain injuries.

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