By Joseph Carrington
It can happen without warning: you slip in the shower and hit your head, a car swerves and hits you, a small stroke occurs and suddenly you can’t speak, your mobility is limited, and your world shrinks.
These are real-life examples of the often intractable effects of traumatic brain injury or TBI. And thanks to the groundbreaking work of Dr. Mark L. Gordon and a handful of forward-looking physicians, there’s new hope for the 1.7 million Americans afflicted with this condition.
Using cutting-edge hormone replacement techniques, Gordon and his colleagues are helping to change the way we think about traumatic brain injuries, their symptoms – and how to treat them effectively. In his clinical practice, Dr. Gordon is developing new protocols that may revolutionize the devastating impact of traumatic brain injuries.
Dr. Gordon found a wealth of published literature suggesting that traumatic brain injury causes pituitary dysfunction, confirming his initial hunch. Although the figures vary between studies, at least 50% (and up to 76%) of traumatic brain injury victims show some loss of pituitary hormone function immediately after the brain injury. In general, the more severe the original brain injury, the more profound the hormonal deficits, although hormone deficiency or insufficiency (levels in the low “normal” range) are seen even in patients with mild traumatic brain injury.
And while about 58% of patients recover their normal pituitary function within one year of their head injury, a shocking 52% develop new pituitary hormone deficiencies after one year.
Those deficits include reductions in many different pituitary hormones, including those that regulate the thyroid gland, the adrenal glands (that produce cortisol, DHEA, and other vital hormones), the gonads (where estrogen and testosterone are produced), and growth hormone.
The severity of the hormone deficiencies correlates strongly with the kinds of symptoms Dr. Gordon was seeing in his patients. For example, patients with growth hormone deficiency or insufficiency had significantly worse disability rating scores, greater rates of depression, worse quality of life, lower energy, greater fatigue, and poorer emotional well-being, compared to brain injury patients with normal hormonal levels.
Dr. Gordon’s hunch was borne out: patients with traumatic brain injury often have pituitary hormone deficiencies or insufficiencies, especially in growth hormone. And those defects are closely associated with the persistent neurological, psychological, and emotional deficits that are so tragically common in survivors of traumatic brain injury.
Carrington, J. (2012). Using Hormones to Heal Traumatic Brain Injuries. Retrieved Jan 13, 2017 from http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2012/1/Using-Hormones-Heal-Traumatic-Brain-Injuries/Page-01