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Generic flu drug may give hope to workers with brain injuries

There may be a new treatment with an old drug that can help employees who have been injured on the job, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Colorado workers who have sustained brain injuries from workplace trauma may have thought that there was little modern medicine could do to help, but this old flu medicine may be able to speed up recovery.

Brain injuries can be one of the most serious types of workplace injuries for Denver employees. Whether it is a mild concussion or a traumatic brain injury that leaves an employee in a persistent vegetative state, there are often workers' compensation funds available to cover medical costs or lost wages. But, dealing with a brain injury is hard enough that many injured employees and their families won't be able to apply for and secure workers' compensation benefits on their own. Using a brain injury attorney can help injured employees get the compensation they need to pay for some of these financial burdens.

The drug Amantadine was first approved in the 1960s to treat symptoms of the flu, but it was later found to improve the condition of people living with Parkinson's disease. Very shortly after the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Amantadine for Parkinson's patients, doctors started prescribing the drug to people with traumatic brain injuries, but this recent study is the first time that scientists have actually documented and researched the phenomenon.

There is some question as to whether the medicine actually improves an employee's brain injury or merely hastens his or her recovery, but even a faster recovery time could be beneficial to people living with brain injuries. With 1.7 million people sustaining some type of brain injury each year, this research could prove useful in developing better and more effective therapies in the future.

Source: CBS News, "Flu drug Amantadine may boost recovery from severe brain injuries," March 1, 2012

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