US Army funds study on nutrition for neurotrauma

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Traumatic brain injury

US Army funds study on nutrition for neurotrauma
Omega-3, CoEnzyme Q10 and antioxidants are some of the ingredients to be studied by the US Institute of Medicine (IOM) in an examination of the benefits of nutrition on the effects of neurotrauma.

The 20-month project, which is sponsored by the US Army, is designed to identify nutritional interventions that can help prevent, mitigate or treat traumatic brain injury (TBI) and spinal cord injury.

IOM has set up an expert committee, which, under the auspices of the standing Committee of Military Nutrition Research, will “consider preventative interventions as well as those that might be effective during the acute phase and in long-term care.”

It will also provide recommendations for promising areas of research for the military.

Health areas to be studied

As part of the study, the IOM committee will investigate whether certain foods or supplements can enhance or impair resilience or recovery from TBI or spinal cord injury in specific areas. These include:

  • Cognitive (information processing, reaction, responsiveness, loss of memory, attention)
  • Somatic (sleep, fatigue)
  • Neuropsychiatric states (posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety)
  • Addiction
  • Pain
  • Survival, morbidity, and functional status (TBI, spinal cord injury)
  • Structure and function of the brain as revealed by brain imaging studies

Ingredients and their effects

Some of the ingredients or nutritional compounds under consideration are omega-3 fatty acids, CoEnzyme Q10, lipoic acid, carnitine, caffeine, kava, tocopherol, zinc, tyrosine and antioxidant vitamins.

IOM will also examine at which point nutritional intervention is likely to be most effective, for example before injury (for prevention), or during acute phases or recovery.

Other aspects to be considered include differences in sex, age and race when evaluating the mechanisms of action of nutritional intervention.

IOM expects its report to be ready by the end of 2012.

For more information or to submit feedback on the project, click here​.

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