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Environmental Enrichment Ups Brain Energy and Decreases Brain Inflammation After TBI

A common obstacle to recovery after TBI is persistent inflammation of the brain with reduced brain energy metabolism. To explore a behavioral solution to this problem a group of researchers put one group of brain-injured rats in a cage with an enriched environment (one with opportunities for multiple, cognitively challenging activities) and one with a sterile environment.

At the beginning of the study both groups of rats had the same level of brain inflammation. After 4 weeks of recovery the researchers subjected the two groups of rats to cognitive testing and found that the rats in the enriched environment performed much better. Blood tests revealed that the rats in the enriched environment had significantly reduced markers of brain inflammation and increased brain energy metabolism as compared to the ones in the sterile environment.

This study demonstrates the benefits of neuro-rehabilitation for TBI. The authors of the study are Teresita L Briones, Julie Woods, and Magdalena Rogozinska. Their study appeared in the journal Acta Neuropathologica Communications 2013, 1:57