Some 42 former professional athletes who suffer from traumatic brain injuries that occurred during their playing careers will participate in a research study in Novi to determine if hormones will eliminate the lasting affects of their injuries. The research is funded in part by a grant from an unnamed international drug company.
“There is consensus in the medical community that many former professional athletes are at risk for cognitive and psychiatric impairment that results in a deficiency in one or more hormones that can significantly impact a person’s quality of life,” says Dr. Randall Benson, vice president and medical director at the Center for Neurological Studies in Novi and lead investigator on the study.
Benson says the center is conducting a placebo-controlled interventional study in growth hormone-deficient former athletes. Based on a previous pilot study and experience with hundreds of patients treated for trauma-induced pituitary hormone insufficiency, Benson expects significant improvement in symptoms and quality of life.
“CNS has unique capabilities and understanding of the brain that have helped a number of former athletes, including me, get their lives back on track,” says Eric Hipple, an ambassador for the center and a former Detroit Lions quarterback.
In the pilot study, the center provided 15 former athletes with endocrine testing that showed 14 of them with growth hormone deficiency. Of the 14, 11 showed a marked reduction in symptoms and improved quality of life after hormone replacement protocols were applied.
“The results can apply well beyond athletes and help the hundreds of thousands of others who suffer TBIs annually in non-sports related accidents,” says John Russell, founder and CEO of the center. “This is an often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed problem, and growth hormone replacement therapy could be a big part of the solution.”
The center was founded in 2011 and is a not-for-profit organization. Its goal is to advance research for neurovascular disease and traumatic brain injuries.