All the talk surrounding traumatic brain injuries focuses on prevention rather than treatment. Once a person is stabilized, doctors tend to take an observational approach, rather than invasive actions to try to recapture neurological function.
This is because the brain is enormously complicated and we really don’t know many proactive ways to actively fight back against TBI after it has happened. So what do you do after a serious brain injury? That was the question facing 17-year-old Bobby Ghassemi’s family. Ghassemi was a former high school football player trapped in a coma after a tragic car accident.
After receiving word that Bobby may remain unresponsive, his family began looking for different “unorthodox” treatments, and they found a physician who suggested giving Bobby omega-3 fats, which they now credit with saving his life, according to foodconsumer.org.
So how is this possible? That is a good question, but it is important to consider the ways nutrition helps keep your body healthy, even in ways you wouldn’t normally think. Most people think of good nutrition as eating well enough to fit into an old dress or tight pair of jeans, but nutrition and eating right does much more inside to keep different parts of your body running correctly.
One of those parts, the brain, is over sixty percent fat, of which up to 20 percent is DHA, or docosahexanoic adic, which is a type of omega-3 fat. DHA is mostly found in your neurons, or the cells of the central nervous system, which provides structural support.
This is why the physician the Ghassemi family consulted suggested omega-3 fats, hoping it would reinforce Bobby’s brain structure.
Supporters of using omega-3’s believe they can inhibit cell death, reconnect damaged neurons, and activate genes which help cope with brain damage. There have been animal studies, with optimistic results,and there are a couple of documented cases where brain injury victims have made great recoveries while using omega-3’s.
This makes me wonder why keeping your body flush with omega-3’s is still considered unorthodox. It is possible these recoveries would have happened without omega-3’s, and there is no sign that feeding Bobby fish oil could have a negative impact, so it wouldn’t have inhibited the recovery. Researchers have yet to create a large scale study, and the little we do know about the effect of omega-3’s is inconclusive at best.
Hopefully researchers will begin to research this possible treatment. If keeping your cholesterol down is helpful for your heart, isn’t is possible that omega-3’s could be positive for your brain in astounding ways. At this time in history when an unprecedented number of veterans are returning home with traumatic brain injuries, we should be examining every possible avenue available to try to heal these heroes, as well as the common people whose lives are dramatically altered in tragic ways every day.