Fish Oil Attributed with Rapid TBI Recovery
I get comments all the time about the title of this blog. My friends like to joke about a cartoonish chef character who sings and whips up pastries in the courtroom. But every time I find information linking nutrition to brain injury rehabilitation, I know I’m on the right track.
And here it is in the news today, another news article revealing the healing power of food.
Today CNN.com covered a story about 17-year old Bobby Ghassemi who suffered a horrific car accident that left him in a coma. His brain was extremely engorged, so much so that they had to remove a piece of his skull to relieve the pressure, and he also had a diffuse axonal brain injury, where nearly every part of his brain was bleeding.
Bobby’s father was unwilling to accept his grim prognosis and began making phone calls. Eventually he found Dr. Michael Lewis, who proposed an unconventional treatment approach that involved a feeding tube and high doses of fish oil. Two weeks after beginning this treatment regimen, Bobby began to emerge from his coma.
“It really gets down to what I would call my brick wall analogy,” Lewis said. “If you have a brick wall and it gets damaged, wouldn’t you want to use bricks to repair the wall? And omega-3 fatty acids are literally the bricks of the cell wall in the brain.”
Because the brain is a fatty mass, composed of approximately 30% omega-3 fatty acids, researchers believe that high doses of omega-3 will mirror what is already in the brain and facilitate the brain’s own healing process.
The CNN article pointed to a number of studies referencing the value of omega-3 fats to brain injury rehabilitation, including one conducted by the National Institute of Health that indicates their ability to prevent the death of brain cells, and another demonstrating their potential for reconnecting damaged neurons.
Six weeks after Bobby’s accident, he was able to discern people and objects. After three months, he attended his high school graduation.
The doctors involved agree that the evidence is strong enough to suggest that omega-3 fats contributed to Bobby’s rapid recovery. They also agree that it’s time for a large-scale study on the effects of omega-3 fat for victims of traumatic brain injury.
If you love food as much as I do, you welcome this news with a napkin tucked into your collar and a fork and knife in each hand.