For contact sports players, repeated concussions can have devastating effects later in life. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a disease symptomatically similar to Alzheimer’s, as well as other forms of dementia have been linked to repeated concussive episodes for which there is no FDA approved drug regimen. While it is difficult to prevent concussions entirely in contact sports, Scythian believes that through its unique technology, brain damage caused by concussions can be greatly mitigated by easing the aftereffects of the brain’s contact with the skull.
To understand how, it is critical to understand how brain damage is caused once the brain hits the skill. The actual impact is not necessarily the most damaging part, but rather the body’s natural response afterward that exacerbates brain injury.
Within the first few hours of a concussion, the inflammatory response is triggered, causing swelling of brain tissue. Just as any area of the body begins to swell after impact and injury due to inflammation, brain tissue itself does as well. Unfortunately, because the brain is confined inside the skull, the inflammation naturally triggered ends up causing even more damage as the process continually pushes already-injured brain tissue against bone.
While this is going on in the immediate aftermath of a concussion, the inflammatory response then leads way to an immune response with the corresponding infiltration of white blood cells and the release of immune modulators called cytokines. This itself further worsens brain injury as it continues to push against the brain.
Most of the damage then, occurs during the inflammatory and immune responses in the aftermath of injury. It is specifically these processes that Scythian’s patent pending technology aims to control, thereby helping the body repair brain tissue without the associated swelling and white blood cell infiltration.
The way Scythian accomplishes this is through a combination of drug molecules called CB2 receptor agonists and NMDA receptor antagonists. CB2 receptor agonists, principally a compound known as cannabidiol (CBD), is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid compound naturally found in the marijuana plant that is known to resolve inflammation without the associated high, quickly, effectively, and systemically shutting the inflammatory response down. NMDA receptor antagonists on the other hand modulate the immune response, lessening and eventually eliminating white blood cell infiltration and cytokine release into brain tissue.
The effect is to, first, prevent the brain from swelling and being pushed against the skull, allowing it to heal without incurring additional damage following impact. Scythian believes that this unique drug combination, if applied immediately after a concussion, can help significantly lessen the long term impact of traumatic brain injury later in life.