Which Drugs Kill Brain Cells
Different drugs can have neurotoxic and destructive effects on brain cells. Substances that are associated with neurological damage include but are not limited to alcohol, heroin, amphetamines, marijuana, opioids, inhalants, and cocaine.1,2,5
Drugs can damage brain cells through several mechanisms. Psychostimulants and alcohol disrupt the integrity of the blood-brain barrier , which can change the functioning of your brain cells due to increased permeability . Increased permeability means that toxins can more easily cross the BBB.7
Other substances, including alcohol and inhalants, can cause injury to brain cells due to the way they damage the protective sheaths, known as myelin, that surround nerve fibers. This can cause damage like that which occurs in neurological diseases like multiple sclerosis . This type of damage can affect your thinking, movement, vision, and hearing. The neurological symptoms people experience in this case can range from mild to severe.8,9
Related Conditions To Cerebral Edema
Evidence suggests that traumatic brain injury, one of the main causes of cerebral edema, puts people at a greater risk of Alzheimers disease or another form of dementia. TBI can affect a persons cognitive functioning, including thinking and learning.
According to the Alzheimers Association, older adults with a history of moderate traumatic brain injury have a 2.3 times greater risk of developing Alzheimers than those with no history of brain injury. Those with a severe TBI have a 4.5 times greater risk.
Can Drug Use Cause Brain Damage
People can experience a wide range of neurological changes due to substance use, but many of these are a direct result of intoxication and they end after the substance clears your body. Chronic or heavy use of certain some substances, however, are associated with certain neurological issues that can be detrimental and long-lasting, but these arent usually a result of cell death causing permanent neurological injury. In fact, many brain changes or neurological complications that result from substance use can improve or even be reversed when you stop using drugs or alcohol.
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No New Safety Concerns
Brain metastases can hinder brain function by destroying healthy brain cells and by causing swelling in the brain. Because immunotherapies can cause inflammation, there were concerns that these treatments might trigger brain swelling and more neurological issues, Dr. Tawbi explained.
However, only seven participants had a serious neurological side effect, such as swelling or bleeding in the brain. In total, 55% of participants had a serious adverse event related to the treatment, most commonly an immune response in the liver . One participant died from inflammation of the heart muscles , which was related to the treatment.
The safety profile in this population was consistent with that reported in studies involving patients without brain metastases, noted Drs. Turajlic and Larkin.
It appears theres no increased safety risk in patients with melanoma brain metastases, said Dr. Sharon. I think that was the most interesting finding.
What Is The Treatment For Brain Swelling
Minor cases of brain swelling due to causes such as moderate altitude sickness or a slight concussion often resolve within a few days. In most cases, however, more treatment is needed quickly.
The goal is to assure that the brain receives enough blood and oxygen to remain healthy while the swelling is relieved and any underlying causes are treated. This may require a combination of medical and surgical treatments. Prompt treatment usually results in quicker and more complete recovery. Without it, some damage may remain.
Supportive care for brain edema may include any combination of the following:
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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Encephalitis
Symptoms in mild cases of encephalitis usually include:
It’s harder to spot some of these symptoms in infants. Important signs to look for include:
- a full or bulging soft spot
- crying that doesn’t stop or that seems worse when the baby is picked up or handled
- body stiffness
Because encephalitis can happen during or after common viral illnesses, symptoms of these illnesses can start before encephalitis happens. But often, it appears without warning.
Brain Changes From Sustained Drug Use
Sustained abuse of certain substances can cause potential long-term neurological effects or changes to brain function. These include: . traumatic brain injuries, headaches, a range of persistent neurological and cognitive complications, and brain changes, including loss of gray matter, reduced hippocampal volume, and enlarged cerebral ventricles may occur as a result of chronic substance abuse.10 Potential consequences and brain changes can vary by substance and can include the development of some of the problems discussed below.
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Hallucinogens And Sensory Perception Malfunctions
Hallucinogenic drugs, such as LSD, psilocybin, peyote, ayahuasca, DMT or MDMA, can cause visual and auditory hallucinations. Some individuals experience residual hallucinations after the drug has left the system, sometimes for several years.
These continued visual hallucinations and echoing could be a result of damage to the visual area of the brain or the enzymes responsible for perception and vision. Research continues to explore this phenomena, as it is not well understood.
What Are The Classifications Of A Traumatic Brain Injury
An injury from a blow or jolt to the head which impairs normal functions of the brain is considered a traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injuries can cause bruising and bleeding in the brain, damage brain cells, cause swelling in the brain, and release large quantities of neurochemicals which can be toxic to the brain.
Traumatic brain injuries are primarily classified as:
- Penetrating injury in which something penetrates the skull and injures the brain.
- Non-penetrating or blunt injury in which a blow to the head, or a jolt such as a whiplash, which may knock the brain against the inside of the skull.
A traumatic brain injury may be mild, moderate or severe . Mild TBIs, also known as concussions, are usually not life-threatening, and symptoms often last for only a short period. However, researchers suggest multiple concussions may be responsible for some chronic brain changes. Severe head injuries may cause lasting damage to the brain, disabilities, coma or death.
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Treatments For Brain Damage After An Opioid Overdose
Although the efficacy of these efforts varies according to the specific nature of your injury, most toxic brain injuries receive the following treatment:
- Normalizing oxygen supply The first and most vital step is to restore the normal flow of oxygen to the brain. This ensures the body has an ample oxygen supply and allows healthcare providers to move beyond the immediate problem of oxygen deprivation to begin treatment to mitigate brain damage.
- Reducing core body temperature Cooling the patients body can help reduce the potential for further damage during the treatment process.
- Controlling swelling Inflammation and swelling can complicate recovery efforts or cause additional brain damage. Steroids can help reduce swelling around the brain and minimize these negative impacts.
- Administering barbiturates By reducing the brains activity levels, it may be possible to limit the scope of the damage the brain suffers during recovery.
What Are The Most Common Causes Of Brain Swelling
Swelling of the brain is very serious and can lead to permanent brain damage and even death. There are several causes of brain swelling, with the most common being a traumatic head injury, stroke, and infection. Other causes may be less common, but do occur, such as brain lesions and side effects of being at a high elevation.
A traumatic brain injury is trauma to a part of the brain. It is one of the leading causes of brain swelling. A brain injury can be caused by several things, including a car accident or fall. The brain responds similarly to other areas of the body when it receives trauma It starts to swell.
Another common cause of swelling in the brain is infection, such as encephalitis, which is an inflammation of the brain. Infections such as these are caused by viruses or bacteria. Meningitis is another common infection that can lead to swelling of the brain. In the case of meningitis, the infection can be caused by either a bacteria or virus.
An abscess, which is also a type of infection, can also form in other areas of the head, such as the teeth or sinuses. When this occurs, it is possible the abscess will spread to the brain. If this happens, swelling in the brain may develop.
Metastatic Melanoma In The Brain
Brain metastases can cause neurological problems such as seizures, dizziness, and vision and hearing problems. Although current therapies used to treat brain metastases may help to alleviate these symptoms, they can also compromise brain function. According to a 2010 study, only 5% of people with melanoma that has spread to the brain will live more than 5 years after a diagnosis of brain metastases.
With the availability of new immunotherapies over the past few years, though, the survival rate may be changing, Dr. Sharon said.
A handful of small studies provided initial evidence that, on their own or in combination, ipilimumab and nivolumab may shrink melanoma brain metastases. The new phase 2 trialsponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb, the manufacturer of nivolumab and ipilimumabwas launched to provide stronger evidence.
More than 100 people with at least one metastatic melanoma tumor in the brain were enrolled in the trial. People with certain conditions or medical histories were excluded, such as those with cancer in part of the brain called the leptomeninges, with neurological symptoms from brain metastases, or who had been treated with steroids to alleviate swelling in the brain.
What Causes Brain Swelling
Injury, other health problems, infections, tumors, and even high altitudes — any of these problems can cause brain swelling to occur. The following list explains different ways the brain can swell:
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Swelling In The Brain
Brain swelling goes by a variety of names brain edema, cerebral edema, elevated intracranial pressure but they all involve an increase in pressure inside your skull. Swelling is part of the normal healing process, but if it causes excess pressure or bleeding, serious problems can occur.
Swelling can set in for a number of reasons, the most common being acute trauma. Clashing heads with an opponent during a soccer match or slipping on the ice and striking your head on the frozen ground can both result in cranial swelling. Aside from a traumatic brain injury, some reasons brain swelling may occur include:
- Blood clot/stroke
- Infections, like meningitis, encephalitis or a subdural empyema
How Can I Protect My Head
To protect the brain, keep these tips in mind as you go about your daily activities:
- Use a helmet when biking, skating, playing contact sports, or performing other activities in which you might fall and hit your head.
- Wear seat belts properly when driving or riding in vehicles.
- Make sure you are doing all you can to control high blood pressure and heart disease.
- Avoid smoking.
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Fda Approves Alzheimers Drug Despite Fierce Debate Over Whether It Works
Aducanumab, or Aduhelm, is the first new Alzheimers treatment in 18 years and the first to attack the disease process. But some experts say theres not enough evidence it can address cognitive symptoms.
The Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved the first new medication for Alzheimers disease in nearly two decades, a contentious decision made despite opposition from the agencys independent advisory committee and some Alzheimers experts who said there was not enough evidence that the drug can help patients.
The drug, aducanumab, which will go by the brand name Aduhelm, is a monthly intravenous infusion intended to slow cognitive decline in people with mild memory and thinking problems. It is the first approved treatment to attack the disease process of Alzheimers instead of just addressing dementia symptoms.
Biogen, its manufacturer, announced Monday afternoon that the list price would be $56,000 a year. In addition, there will most likely be tens of thousands of dollars in costs for diagnostic testing and brain imaging.
Recognizing that clinical trials of the drug had provided incomplete evidence to demonstrate effectiveness, the F.D.A. granted approval for the drug to be used but required Biogen to conduct a new clinical trial.
If the new trial, called a Phase 4 trial, fails to show the drug is effective, the F.D.A. can but is not required to rescind its approval.
New Alzheimers Disease Treatment Approved
Types Of Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injuries may be focal, in a small specific area, or diffuse injury over a large area of the brain, which may not be apparent on a CT scan, but causes TBI symptoms.
Types of traumatic brain injuries include the following:
- Hematoma: A hematoma is a blood clot that forms inside or on the surface of the brain after an injury.
- Contusion: Contusions are areas of bruising, with injured brain tissue and blood that has leaked out of tiny blood vessels.
- Hemorrhage: Hemorrhage is uncontrolled bleeding in any part of the brain, which may be of two types:
- Subarachnoid hemorrhage: Bleeding in the space around the brain.
- Intracerebral hemorrhage: Bleeding within the brain tissue.
- Diffuse axonal injury: Axons are long, hair-like projections from nerve cells , which enable communication between nerve cells and make the body function. Diffuse axonal injury is one of the most dangerous types of TBI because it can cause severe and lasting disabilities.
- Ischemia: Ischemia is inadequate blood supply to parts of the brain, because of injury.
- Skull fractures: Skull fractures may be simple cracks in the skull or fragments of skull that push into the brain, damage brain tissue, blood vessels and nerves, and cause leakage of the cerebrospinal fluid.
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Brain Therapies For Addiction
When someone battling addiction enters a facility, they receive medication and have access to innovative treatments. A common treatment to stabilize and soothe the brain after addiction is biofeedback therapy. This allows a professional to monitor the brain. They can figure out how to improve brain activity, reducing the effects of addiction and unhealthy impulses.
Biofeedback uses electroencephalograms . EEGs are typically used to help individuals who have suffered traumatic brain injuries and can be helpful to individuals with obsessive compulsive disorder and other brain disorders. Biofeedback reduces stress and reduces involuntary functions. This therapy can also include meditation, guided imagery, and muscle relaxation.
When this is combined with therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy or dialectical behavioral therapy , biofeedback improves the individuals involuntary functions, like heartbeat, blood pressure, and muscle contraction. Neurofeedback, or EEQ therapy, is a type of biofeedback. This therapy is a brain-training treatment. In the case of addiction, this therapy monitors the brains activity. It helps patients to reduce stress and anxiety and can treat compulsions. The end result of both therapies is the administrator rewarding the brain to recover how it functions.
Pathophysiology Of Brain Swelling And Adaptive Response In Hyponatremia: The Osmotic Theory
Effects of hyponatremia on the brain and adaptive mechanism. Normonatremia: brain osmolality is in equilibrium with extracellular fluid osmolality Acute hyponatremia: water moves into the brain in response to an osmotic gradient, causing brain swelling Chronic hyponatremia: within a few hours cells loss electrolytes and later on organic osmolytes the consequent loss of osmotically obligated water reduces cellular swelling and normalizes brain volume Osmotic demyelination: an overly rapid correction of hyponatremia causes an inverse osmotic gradient with an excessive loss of water from the cells causing brain dehydration and demyelination of white matter.
Schematic representation of cellular responses leading to swelling in chronic hyponatremia. When extracellular decreases, water entry into the cells through AQP1 and AQP4 causes an increase in cell volume that triggers a volume sensor. Activation of the volume sensor causes an efflux of electrolytes through the Na+-K+ ATPase, the K+ channels, the KCC transporter and a volume sensitive Cl channel that also mediates the extrusion of Cl and organic osmolytes. AQP1: type 1 aquaporin water channel AQP4: type 4 aquaporin water channel KCC: K+-Cl cotransporter.
Pathophysiology of ODS. Schematic representation of the possible events caused by an overly rapid correction of chronic hyponatremia.
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What Drugs Might Cause Encephalitis
Zinbryta is a drug linked to encephalitis. Zinbryta is a prescription medication used to treat adult patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis. The FDA started receiving adverse event reports of serious side effects caused by ingestion of Zinbryta, including reactions affecting the brain, liver and other organs.
In February 2018, the European Medicines Agency started a review of Zinbryta due to reports of serious liver damage.
Zinbryta manufacturers Biogen and Abbvie voluntarily withdrew Zinbryta from the world-wide market on March 2, 2018. The FDA noted the manufacturers were concerned about the drugs evolving benefit/risk profile and asked that no new patients start taking Zinbryta.
That same day, the EMA announced an urgent review of Zinbryta following 7 cases of serious inflammatory brain disorders in Germany, including encephalitis and meningoenephalitis, and one case in Spain. The EMA also urged doctors not to start new patients on Zinbryta and to stop ongoing clinical studies with Zinbryta.