Florida residents may not be aware that traumatic brain injuries are the leading cause of disability and death for Americans under the age of 45. As many as 5 million people in the United States struggle daily with chronic disabilities caused by a severe head trauma, and the annual cost of caring for them is estimated to be about $76.5 billion. The Boston-based pharmaceutical company Tetra Discovery has been working on an enzyme inhibitor to treat brain-related disorders such as depression and schizophrenia, and researchers from the University of Miami partnered with them to see if the drug may also be of value to those that have suffered a brain injury.

The drug inhibits the enzyme phosphodiesterase 4, and the University of Miami researchers found that it may also promote cyclic adenosine monophosphate levels in patients with a traumatic brain injury. Tests on animals have shown that the inhibitor can actually reverse some memory problems and help with learning tasks. The results of the research were published in the July 2016 Journal of Neuroscience.

Previous research with phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitors has also showed great promise, but efforts to find practical applications for the drugs have been hampered by side effects such as serious headaches, sickness and diarrhea. The University of Miami research is seen as particularly noteworthy because tests on animals have seen memory and learning improve to near non-injured levels without these side effects.

Those who suffer chronic disabilities caused by traumatic brain injuries are often injured in automobile accidents, and personal injury attorneys may be able to seek civil remedies on their behalf if negligent behavior played a role. The consequences of a serious brain trauma are not always immediately apparent, and attorneys may call upon neurologists or physical therapists to explain the effects of these injuries.