A new report by the Institute of Medicine indicates nutrition appears to play a vital role in improving the outcome of traumatic brain injury, especially if it is administered soon after the injury occurs. The study, commissioned by the Department of Defense, urges the military to make infusions of calories and protein part of standard care in the immediate aftermath of injury.
Indiana University brain researcher Dr. Lisa Lombard says those infusions, if administered within the first 24 hours of injury and continued for the following two weeks, may significantly reduce inflammation in the brain.
“They basically looked,” she said, “at what a lot of different groups have been doing as far as research from supplementation to diet as well as when we start feeding patients after they’ve sustained a severe trauma.”
The long-term impact of nutrition was not studied. Brain injuries are commonplace among service members in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Within the U.S. military as a whole, there have been more than 200,000 cases of traumatic brain injury diagnosed since 2000.