Major Brain Injury Study Yields Disappointing Results

A major scientific study of the effects of a nutritional supplement on brain injuries has yielded disappointing results.

The U.S. military had hoped that the the supplement, citicoline, could be used to treat wounded veterans. In products available over the counter, it is marketed as having memory-enhancing effects, and it is used by doctors worldwide in the treatment of brain trauma and strokes, despite a mixed body of evidence.

But in this, the most rigorous test conducted so far, citicoline was found to work no better than a placebo at enhancing attention, concentration, and memory.

Researchers selected 1,213 adult patients admitted to eight U.S. hospitals with brain trauma ranging from mild to severe. Half of these patients began received their first dose of 2,000 milligrams of citicoline in pill or liquid form within 24 hours of their injuries. The dose, much higher than that commonly added to over-the-counter products, was administered daily for three months. The other half of patients received a placebo in the same time frame.

All patients were observed for a period of six months. Most showed improvement in the measured mental functions, but those receiving citicoline did not show a substantially different level of improvement versus those receiving a placebo. This suggests that the improvement observed was the result of normal healing.

Over one million Americans experience brain injuries annually. There currently is no effective treatment.

Robert Briskman is a medical malpractice lawyer and Chicago medical malpractice attorney with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit

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