Date: April 20, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PROTEIN AND CALORIES CAN HELP LESSEN EFFECTS OF SEVERE TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY;
BENEFITS OF OTHER NUTRITIONAL APPROACHES NEED FURTHER STUDY
This is the only nutrition-related approach to treating TBI that the committee recommended DOD implement at this time based on its review of the possible benefits of nutrients, dietary supplements, and specific diets to improve outcomes for TBI ranging from mild to severe. Several other nutritional approaches show potential for reducing the symptoms of brain injury, but there is not yet enough evidence about their effectiveness to recommend their adoption.
The committee identified the B vitamin choline, the amino acid-like compound creatine, n-3 fatty acids commonly known as EPA and DHA, and zinc as the most promising areas of investigation and recommended that DOD scientists and other researchers give them priority attention. These approaches are ones for which human clinical trials have been undertaken or are ongoing.
Other approaches, including antioxidants, flavonoids, ketogenic diets, and vitamin D, have less supporting evidence that has come solely from animal studies or from studies in people with different conditions. Although researchers must prioritize resources, DOD should continue to monitor the clinical literature for any new findings about the potential of these nutrients and diets in lessening brain injury effects, the report says.
The research priorities outlined in the report could generate information that provides health professionals with a fuller picture of which nutrients and dietary approaches work safely and most effectively. This information could also lead to new evidence-based clinical guidelines. There are few well-supported guidelines to inform health professionals' use of foods and dietary supplements to treat brain-injured patients, so clinicians employ a wide range of practices.
The IOM study focused on the potential role of nutrition in protecting against or treating the immediate and near-term effects of TBI. It did not evaluate the role of nutritional therapies in the rehabilitation phase or address long-term health effects associated with brain trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, Alzheimer's disease, pain, and depression. A review of nutrition approaches to lessen long-term effects of TBI would be useful, the committee noted.
TBI is a significant cause of death and disability among personnel serving in the wars in
The study was sponsored by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command of the U.S. Department of Defense. Established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, the
Christine Stencel, Senior Media Relations Officer
Shaquanna Shields, Media Relations Assistant
Office of News and Public Information
202-334-2138; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Pre-publication copies of Nutrition and Traumatic Brain Injury: Improving Acute and Subacute Health Outcomes in Military Personnel are available from the National Academies Press; tel. 202-334-3313 or 1-800-624-6242 or on the Internet at http://www.nap.edu. Reporters may obtain a copy from the Office of News and Public Information (contacts listed above).
# # #
Food and Nutrition Board
Committee on Nutrition, Trauma, and the Brain
John W. Erdman Jr., M.S., Ph.D. (chair)
Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition
Eldon Wayne Askew, Ph.D.
Professor and Director
Division of Nutrition
Bruce R. Bistrian, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Medicine
Joseph G. Cannon, Ph.D.
College of Allied Health Services
Xiang Gao, M.D., Ph.D.
Department of Nutrition
Michael S. Jaffee, M.D.
Lackland Air Force Base
Robin B. Kanarek, Ph.D.
John Wade Professor of Psychology
Cathy W. Levenson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biomedical Science and Neuroscience, and
Hazel K. Stiebeling Associate Professor
Department of Nutrition, Food, and Exercise Sciences
Esther F. Myers, Ph.D., R.D.
Chief Science Officer
Research and Strategic Business Development
American Dietetic Association
Linda J. Noble, Ph.D.
Professor of Neurological Surgery and Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science,
Co-Director and Principal Investigator
Ross D. Zafonte, D.O.
Professor and Chair
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Vice President of Medical Affairs
Maria Oria, Ph.D.