This morning, Kitrinor Metals Inc. and Scythian Biosciences Inc. announced the signing of their previously announced business combination agreement. The completion of this agreement will result in Scythian Biosciences listing on the TSX Venture Exchange. Scythian Biosciences' primary research centers around a patent-pending cannabinoid combination for the treatment of concussions and traumatic brain injury.
Opportunities in Traumatic Brain Injury & Concussion Treatment
The U.S. Center for Disease Control defines traumatic brain injury, a.k.a. TBI, as "a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow, jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury."
TBIs can range from mild to severe depending on the damage sustained to the brain. Concussion is the commonly used word referring to a mild traumatic brain injury.
Data regarding the prevalence of traumatic brain injuries, and especially mild ones is often underestimated because many patients don't seek medical attention. Some may not even be aware that they sustained a TBI (even though the potential for long term damage exists).
That said, in 2013 there were approximately 2.8 million TBI-related emergency room visits. Children, athletes and military service members are at increased risk of both traumatic brain injuries and of the serious long term effects of them.
Children & Youth
In 2012, it was estimated that more than 320,000 children visited the ER for a TBI related to sports or recreation. Additionally, from 2001 to 2012 the rate of emergency room visits among children with a sports-related TBI more than doubled.
A 2007 study by the University of North Carolina found that almost 61% of the retired NFL players surveyed indicated that they had suffered a concussion at least once in their career.
Military Service Members
The Department of Defense has documented more than 361,000 incidences of traumatic brain injury among active-duty service members since the year 2000.
Repeated concussions can create a progressive degenerative disease of the brain known Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, a.k.a. CTE. Symptoms of CTE include memory loss, impaired judgment, depression, paranoia, aggression and dementia and can show up months, years or even decades after the injuries.
There is currently no prescription treatment for traumatic brain injuries, just products that manage symptoms. In the case of concussions, patients are sent home and instructed to rest, hydrate and stay awake. This does little in regards to the potentially serious long-term consequences.
The lack of quality treatment options, the serious long-term consequences from as little as one concussion and the increasing prevalence of TBIs, generates significant opportunity for companies like Scythian Biosciences.
Scythian Biosciences' Research
Through its collaboration with the University of Miami, Scythian Biosciences is conducting a five year, multi-part study of the treatment potential of a combination of cannabidiol (CBD) and dexanabinol (a synthetic cannabinoid that acts like an anesthetic) in concussions and traumatic brain injuries.
Evidence suggests that this 'cannabinoid cocktail' can inhibit the chemical reactions that lead to brain cell death in TBIs. They are currently studying the treatment in animal models of traumatic brain injury but plan on progressing to human trials in the next year or two, the goal being to develop an FDA-approved treatment for TBI.
To learn more, hear from study leader and professor of neurological surgery, Gillian Hotz, Ph.D in the video below.
We eagerly await the closing of Scythian Biosciences' reverse merger and their listing on the TSX Venture. Many publicly traded companies (and soon to be publicly traded) are researching cannabinoid-based treatments for conditions as diverse as sleep apnea, epidermolysis bullosa, Tourette's syndrome, various forms of cancer and many more!
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