Experimental Brain Injury Treatments Could Be Worth Billions

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Brain trauma is one tough and expensive field.

Each year brain injuries cost the nation roughly $50 billion. That's half a trillion every decade.

And then there's the human toll….

Brain injuries kill 52,000 people each year, making this the third leading cause of death from injury.

But there's more to this story than the death toll. Another 80,000 people a year in the U.S. survive brain injuries but go on to lead reduced lives.

Luckily, there is hope. Today we're on the verge of saving millions from the suffering brought about by traumatic brain injuries.

These insights also will lead to new treatments for such severe brain diseases as Lou Gehrig's (also known as ALS) and Alzheimer's.

And that's what the Era of Radical Change is all about — seeing friends and family survive things that a few years ago would have killed them.

It's all the result of more than 50 years of exponential growth in high tech and its effect on every aspect of science.

We are now at a tipping point in human history. Cases that once seemed doomed now offer new hope.

Brain Injuries: The Tragedy and the Hope

Unfortunately, this is a story I know all too well. It is one of the reasons why I'm deeply interested in this field.

Nineteen years ago last March, my cousin was killed in an infamous boating accident while his family looked on.

Doctors tried to save him but to no avail. His brain injuries were just too severe.

Now I wonder how my cousin would have done had that very same boat crash happened today.

As it turns out, a similar accident just occurred in our town.

Three high school seniors were cruising up Highway 101 when the driver lost control of the car. It crashed, rolling over several times.

The driver was killed outright, while our family friend, Matt, suffered severe brain trauma.

As I write this, doctors are attempting once again to take him out of the coma they induced to stem the swelling of his brain. Though he still has a long way to go, I'm happy to say he has made great strides in the past 10 days.

In another case, doctors in Indiana recently used an experimental drug to treat a 30-year-old mother who has made an amazing recovery from her brain injury.

It's based on the female hormone progesterone. You see, doctors already knew that young women recover from brain trauma faster than men.

Studies with pregnant rats also showed they recovered more quickly than non-pregnant rats. And male rats that got progesterone also fared better.

Now, a team led by Emory University in Atlanta is in Phase III of a key clinical trial. It covers more than 1,000 patients at 17 U.S. medical centers.

The fact that the study already cleared major hurdles bodes well for its outcome. If the test succeeds it could mean that a new drug to treat brain injuries will hit the market in just a few years.

Stem Cells Open Paths to New Cures

But researchers at the University of Texas at Galveston recently took an even more novel approach. They treated brain traumas with stem cells.

It's pretty complex stuff. So, let me simplify.

Our brains are teeming with nerve cells called neurons. To work correctly, neurons rely on very special nerve fibers called axons.

Simply put, when axons are too damaged from trauma the patient dies. That's why the Texas team's work is so important.

Team members implanted neural stem cells into rat brains and made two major findings. The stem cells not only reduced brain damage, they also lowered levels of a deadly protein that courses through the brain after it suffers an impact.

Stem cells hold great promise for the long haul because they are natural. That means no drug side effects and the chance to have healthy cells grow new tissue.

It's why I believe it's just a matter of time before a biotech firm comes to market with an effective drug or treatment for brain injuries. Success here could be huge.

At the very least it will save us billions a year in healthcare costs alone.

As investors, that lets us make money while also saving lives.

In fact, I believe that in as little as a decade I will be able to report to you that thousands of patients like Matt have bounced back from their brain injuries.

It is one of the reasons I am so hopeful for America's future. Breakthroughs like these are part of our DNA.

It's why I just launched the Era of Radical Change to keep you abreast of this and other cutting-edge technology.

It is a unique advisory service that will show you how to profit from the most important trends reshaping the world around us.

I'm referring to things like:

  • Crab-like robots that eat cancer.
  • Nanosatellites that can fly to the moon on a single drop of fuel.
  • Gold nanoparticles that can help get rid of brain tumors.
  • And much, much more…

So, if you want to find a way to profit from the next generation of tech breakthroughs, please join me at the Era of Radical Change.

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About the Author

Michael A. Robinson is one of the top financial analysts working today. His book "Overdrawn: The Bailout of American Savings" was a prescient look at the anatomy of the nation's S&L crisis, long before the word "bailout" became part of our daily lexicon. He's a Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer and reporter, lauded by the Columbia Journalism Review for his aggressive style. His 30-year track record as a leading tech analyst has garnered him rave reviews, too. Today he is the editor of the monthly tech investing newsletter Nova-X Report as well as Radical Technology Profits, where he covers truly radical technologies – ones that have the power to sweep across the globe and change the very fabric of our lives – and profit opportunities they give rise to. He also explores "what's next" in the tech investing world at Strategic Tech Investor.

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  1. alfonso serna | May 3, 2012

    I would like to invest but I don't have a lot of money could you let me know how to go about it thank you

  2. Robert Streetman | May 3, 2012

    How are you? I have been brain injury survivor for 23 years now. I got shot by my ex-girlfriend. And it has been struggle. But when I think about my injury and thank God that I am still here. I am a Rotary Club member and Big Brothers Big Sisters member. Thank you.

  3. Publius | May 3, 2012

    What the article fails to mention is that the breakthroughs have occurred with ADULT stem cells, not embryonic stem cells. This has been true for every single scientific use of stem cells.

    • Pieter | May 3, 2012

      Thank you for pointing that out Publius. The ethics underlying these advances is really even more important than the promising positive outcome of this research.

  4. Diana Hoeflein | May 4, 2012

    RE: Recovering from my Brain Injury
    INTRACEREBRAL HEMORRHAGE: FEB 2, 2012

    I receive almost daily my Money Morning email and the May 3rd issue was caught me offguard talking about brain injuries bacause I too just went through one February 2, 2012. I was falling off ladders for unexplained reasons when I started fixing painting problems that my December 2011 painting people made in 2 bathrooms where they let the wall paint blend into the ceiling so while up there and also cleaning outside windows, I fell several times and hit my head, I know on the tub in the bathroom and then on the patio cement floor cleaning my outside window. I didn't realize it at the time but it caused me to end up in the emergency room. I was diagosed with "intercerebral hemorrhage", brain injury where the blood was surrounding my left and right temporal lobe. That type of brain injury causes immediate altered mental status and I became a completely different person who was mad and angry at her world and all the financial difficulties and getting along with my family it has caused. I was sent home finding my car sold, cable TV, cell phone, and computer cancelled and unable to get a job or drive, doctors say, for one year. My house was put up to sale and almost foreclosed on and I'm working hard on that since I was not ready to sell the house I've lived in for almost 20 years. The good news I'm feeling right now…is my brain feeling like it's getting back to normal. After that first ER incident I fell again and broke my right hip and went through a complete hip replacement, also feeling better since it's been now around 3 months of healing. My anger is the sell of my car and house without my knowledge. Family taking those steps, just trying to help me, but angry at them. Reading the article has also scared me. Am I really healing? I guess I could have to go see a doctor and do another CT scan, but my insurance is about to cancel and I have to come up with some money to extend it. I will have to pay on a month to month basis for insurance. It's so expensive but has to be done. I need to have insurance and have to pay privately. So, that's my story. I hope I continue to feel better. I had the type of injury that didn't break my skull and was lucky I didn't die or have brain surgery. I have serious stressful mental health issues and hope I don't lose my house, hope I can get a discounted mortgage to keep it while I wait to see how I can get money coming in because I'm unemployed, talk daily with credit card companies I'm unable to pay, and am going crazy not able to get in a new car again and drive to get out of the house, run an errand or attend church.

  5. Paolo | May 7, 2012

    I wonder if rehabilitation clinics will survive. I believe that stem cell cures cannot go alone without proper rehabilitation and rehabilitation devices like existing devices that let patients walk (sort of) while they are still in a coma.

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