Health Team

Mother: 'Miracle' shot saved son with traumatic brain injury

Posted January 18, 2013
Updated January 22, 2013

— It can happen in an instant – a car accident or even a slip on a skateboard can lead to traumatic brain injury. The most severe cases can be fatal or leave patients with long-term disabilities.

Now, Duke University researchers say a simple hormone could be a huge benefit.

A late night out with friends last summer changed 22-year-old Steven Jones' life, even though he doesn't remember much of what happened. He was in the back of a pickup truck as it rolled slowly to a stop.

“Somehow, I lost my balance and fell out of the truck, and that's how I got the brain injury,” Jones said.

Duke neurologist Dr. Daniel Laskowitz says Jones came into the emergency department with a severe traumatic brain injury. The key to survival of TBI is minimizing the swelling and pressure on the brain.

“There are treatments for TBI, but we're limited in terms of what we can offer,” Laskowitz said.

When Jones' mom, Ann Davis-Jones, arrived at Duke the night of the accident, doctors asked her consent to include her son in a phase 3 trial involving an infusion of progesterone, a natural hormone that reduced swelling and some cellular injury in earlier trials.

“I signed the consent. He got the shot, a miracle … I have my son,” Davis-Jones said.

The family doesn't know if Steven Jones got the hormone or just a placebo, but his mom is convinced he got the real thing. They want other families in the same situation to know about the trial.

“It's good for everybody to know, in case it happens to them,” Davis-Jones said.

If the results bear out, it could become a standard of TBI care. Patients must get the progesterone IV infusion within 8 hours of being injured.

“So this is a phase 3 trial, meaning that, if it works, there's at least a possibility that we'll have the first definitive treatment for traumatic brain injury,” Laskowitz said.


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  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Jan 31, 2013

    Praise and thank God, and those who continually work hard to help others.

  • waddellmccoy Jan 24, 2013

    Desiderata-please read the article again, its clear the young man is able to speak: “Somehow, I lost my balance and fell out of the truck, and that's how I got the brain injury,” Jones said. Maybe I'm wrong but that clearly reads as if the patient is making the statement here. It's obvious you were a little too focused on the negative to even realize the positive

  • Desiderata Jan 22, 2013

    As I said, lets wait and see how the trials go. In the photo the kid is in a cervical collar and has 02 to his trach, where he breaths out of. No mention how much skill/mental capacity ,range of motion he has maintained...can he walk, talk, remember things..function in society...what is the cost of the rehab for Traumatic Brain Injuries....Prevention is important ....AND this may work for a limited number..but it is progress in the right direction. Good luck to all TBI and their families. It is a hard road no one should ever have to follow.

  • jgw701 Jan 21, 2013

    How can you tell this f amily not to get excited yet. Speaking as the parent of a child who has suffered a TBI, I got excited with any positive news or potential treatment, especially in the early stages just after his accident. Some things can not be prevented no matter how hard you try. Yes, this type of injury can cause devestating consequences but telling families to not have be excited is totally the wrong message to send. In my sons case, all we had was hope, because due to the nature of these type injuries, very little can be explained beyond the present. Hopefully, through these studies and continued research this will not always be the case. I hope things continue to go well for this family.

  • Desiderata Jan 21, 2013

    Lets not get too excited yet. The family does NOT know if he recieved the placebo or the hormone , so they are not in a position to promote this instead. Promote PREVENTION of TBI instead! Or it can kill or cause devastating consequences.

  • Scubagirl Jan 18, 2013

    Great possibility for a devastating injury. IF this works I predict it will be on all battlefields as well