Patients who have suffered a brain injury may suffer from severe immunosuppression, or a reduced ability to fight infections. These patients may also be at high risk for hyper inflammation because the brain releases glucocorticoids in response to brain injury. Reducing infection rates in patients with traumatic brain injury is, therefore, a primary concern for health care providers. A new study finds that patients with traumatic brain injury, who are given infusions of probiotics, may be able to fight infections better.
The small-scale study was conducted at the North Sichuan Medical College and Hospital in China. The trial consisted of a total of 52 patients who had suffered traumatic brain injury and was being treated in an intensive care unit. Approximately half of these patients were in the control group and were given conventional brain injury treatments. The other half were given conventional brain injury therapies and an additional dose of probiotics every day over a period of 21 days.
At the end of the 21 days, the researchers found that the patients who were given the probiotics infusions had a lower chance of contracting infections after a brain injury. This improvement in patients who were given the probiotics was seen not soon after receiving the probiotics, but around the 15th day after the injury.
Overall, the researchers have concluded from the study that the use of probiotics reduced the number of infections suffered about 7 days after the brain injury. These patients needed fewer antibiotics to treat infections, and also required shorter stays in the hospital ICU.
This was a small-scale study and therefore was not as conclusive as brain injury lawyers may have hoped. For instance, the study did not indicate any major differences in the number of infections suffered by patients in the control group and patients who were given the probiotics. However, the fact that there was an improvement in the persons who were given probiotics a few days after beginning the treatment is an encouraging sign that could be investigated further.