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Fish oil may help patients of traumatic brain injury

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can severely reduce capacity, affect mood, cause depression, alter personalities, impact memory and cause a range of other symptoms related to brain function. A recent report indicates that the use of fish oil may help to improve recovery for patients of traumatic brain injury in Connecticut and nationwide.

In March 2010, 17-year-old was severely injured in a car accident. When paramedics arrived he was in a coma and barely alive. The young motorist was so severely wounded that doctors did not know if he would survive. His brain was so swollen that doctors had to remove a portion of his skull. After inquiring with specialists, his parents were told that fish oil could improve his chances of recovery.

Fish oil is composed of omega-3 essential fatty acids that are also found in the brain had been used in the past to treat patients of TBI. The theory is that the omega-3 fatty acids can help to heal the human brain, which is itself made of fatty tissue: 30% of omega-3 fatty acids. According to doctors, high doses of omega-3 fatty acids can facilitate the brain's own healing power.

Currently, the majority of studies about omega-3 for traumatic brain injury are on animals; however, the research offers hope that there is a potential for healing the human brain. The omega-3 fatty accidents may inhibit cell death and could be instrumental for reconnecting damaged neurons.

The 17-year-old boy who suffered the traumatic brain injury was given high doses of fish oil after his injury. Two weeks after the regimen, he regained movement in his hands, his legs, and then demonstrated memory, recognition and other signs of brain recovery. He is still weak and relearning how to walk, but his progress has been significant. Medical professionals and survivors of brain injury are urging a wider study on the use of fish oil to treat patients of TBI.

Source: CNN, "Fish oil helped save our son," Stephanie Smith, Oct. 19, 2012

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