Research Reports - The use of antioxidants in the treatment of traumatic brain injury

J Adv Nurs. 2017 Jan 19. doi: 10.1111/jan.13259. [Epub ahead of print]

Venegoni W(1), Shen Q(2), Thimmesch AR(2), Bell M(2), Hiebert JB(2), Pierce

AIMS: The aim of this study was to discuss secondary traumatic brain injury, the
mitochondria and the use of antioxidants as a treatment.
BACKGROUND: One of the leading causes of death globally is traumatic brain
injury, affecting individuals in all demographics. Traumatic brain injury is
produced by an external blunt force or penetration resulting in alterations in
brain function or pathology. Often, with a traumatic brain injury, secondary
injury causes additional damage to the brain tissue that can have further impact
on recovery and the quality of life. Secondary injury occurs when metabolic and
physiologic processes alter after initial injury and includes increased release
of toxic free radicals that cause damage to adjacent tissues and can eventually
lead to neuronal necrosis. Although antioxidants in the tissues can reduce free
radical damage, the magnitude of increased free radicals overwhelms the body's
reduced defence mechanisms. Supplementing the body's natural supply of
antioxidants, such as coenzyme Q10, can attenuate oxidative damage caused by
reactive oxygen species.
DESIGN: Discussion paper.
DATA SOURCES: Research literature published from 2011-2016 in PubMed, CINAHL and
IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING: Prompt and accurate assessment of patients with
traumatic brain injury by nurses is important to ensure optimal recovery and
reduced lasting disability. Thus, it is imperative that nurses be knowledgeable
about the secondary injury that occurs after a traumatic brain injury and aware
of possible antioxidant treatments.
CONCLUSION: The use of antioxidants has potential to reduce the magnitude of
secondary injury in patients who experience a traumatic brain injury. 

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