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Magnesium Levels Predict Brain Injury Outcomes

Low levels associated with poorer outcomes and study suggests early replacement therapy may help

THURSDAY, April 27 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with traumatic brain injury who have low serum magnesium levels tend to have poorer outcomes than patients who do not, according to research presented this week at the annual conference of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons in San Francisco.

Martina Stippler, M.D., of the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues assessed the initial serum magnesium levels in 83 severe traumatic brain injury patients.

Thirty-five patients had normal magnesium levels and 48 had low levels on arrival to the hospital. Although the two groups were similar at presentation in terms of Glasgow Coma Scale score, age and other factors, those with relatively low magnesium levels had a worse outcome as measured by the Glasgow Outcome Scale at six months.

"These findings suggest that admission [serum magnesium] affects neurological outcome in the severe traumatic brain injury patient and supports the use of early MgSO4 replacement therapy," the authors conclude. "Additional research is aimed at understanding the alteration of intracranial [serum magnesium] homeostasis in the traumatic brain injury patient and the possible protection against secondary injury."

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