Researchers evaluate red wine compound for treating concussions in pro boxers

May 26, 2011

UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers are engaging the help of professional boxers and trainers to study whether a component in red wine and grapes could help reduce the short- and long-term effects of concussions.

Researchers plan to recruit about two dozen professional boxers to take the neuroprotective compound resveratrol after a fight to see if it reduces damage to the brain after impact and helps restore subtle brain functions and connections via its antioxidant effects. If successful, researchers hope the results may be applicable not only to concussions in other sports such as football and hockey, but also to everyday incidents such as falls, auto accidents and other blows to the head.

"We know from animal studies that if we give the drug immediately after or soon after a brain injury, it can dramatically and significantly reduce the damage you see long term," said Dr. Joshua Gatson, assistant professor of surgery in Burn/Trauma/Critical Care and principal investigator for the study. "There haven't been any completed human studies yet, so this is really the first look at resveratrol's effect on ."

Resveratrol is already being studied as an agent to lower , for use against cancer, to protect , and in stroke and Alzheimer's disease treatments.

"Even though resveratrol is found in , you would need 50 glasses of wine to get the required dose to get the protection you would need," said Dr. Gatson.

He came up with the idea for the trial, called the REPAIR study, while watching ESPN. Being a sports fan, he saw frequent concussion issues in football.

"The only treatment available is rest and , but there is no drug therapy to protect the brain from consecutive concussions, which are actually a lot worse than the initial one," said Dr. Gatson, who investigates biomarkers and novel therapies for traumatic . "There's been a lot of work with resveratrol showing that it also protects the brain, so we thought this might be the ideal drug."

In this study, researchers are administering the required oral dose once a day for seven days. Pro boxers will take a supplement form of resveratrol within two hours of their match. Researchers will then use neurocognitive tests and novel MRI protocols to track subtle brain activity, inflammation, and restoration of cells and connections.

"The main goal of our research is to protect the brain after each episode so that we can decrease the cumulative effect of these sports concussions," Dr. Gatson said.

Because boxers can have several fights in a short period of time, the researchers decided to target pro boxers with the help of Joseph Mohmed, the study research coordinator, and a coach for USA Boxing, the governing body for all amateur boxing, including the Olympics. Mr. Mohmed also is a former facilities manager at UT Southwestern.

According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, 2009 figures showed that 446,788 sports-related head injuries were treated at U.S. hospital emergency rooms, an increase of nearly 95,000 from the year before, in sports ranging from diving and cycling to baseball, basketball, soccer and football. The annual incidence of football-related in the U.S. is estimated at 300,000, with about 47,000 football-related head injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms. In addition, more than 85,000 people were treated for bicycle-related head injuries; about two-thirds of 600 bicycling deaths a year are attributed to traumatic injury.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

High-fat diet in pregnancy can cause mental health problems in offspring

July 21, 2017
A high-fat diet not only creates health problems for expectant mothers, but new research in an animal model suggests it alters the development of the brain and endocrine system of their offspring and has a long-term impact ...

To combat teen smoking, health experts recommend R ratings for movies that depict tobacco use

July 21, 2017
Public health experts have an unusual suggestion for reducing teen smoking: Give just about any movie that depicts tobacco use an automatic R rating.

Why sugary drinks and protein-rich meals don't go well together

July 20, 2017
Having a sugar-sweetened drink with a high-protein meal may negatively affect energy balance, alter food preferences and cause the body to store more fat, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Nutrition.

Opioids and obesity, not 'despair deaths,' raising mortality rates for white Americans

July 20, 2017
Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according ...

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.