Research Reports - Therapeutic use of omega-3 fatty acids in severe head trauma
Am J Emerg Med. 2013 Jan;31(1):273.e5-8
Lewis M, Ghassemi P, Hibbeln J.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has long been recognized as the leading cause of
traumatic death and disability. Tremendous advances in surgical and intensive
care unit management of the primary injury, including maintaining adequate
oxygenation, controlling intracranial pressure, and ensuring proper cerebral
perfusion pressure, have resulted in reduced mortality. However, the secondary
injury phase of TBI is a prolonged pathogenic process characterized by
neuroinflammation, excitatory amino acids, free radicals, and ion imbalance.
There are no approved therapies to directly address these underlying processes.
Here, we present a case that was intentionally treated with substantial amounts
of omega-3 fatty acids (n-3FA) to provide the nutritional foundation for the
brain to begin the healing process following severe TBI. Recent animal research
supports the use of n-3FA, and clinical experience suggests that benefits may be
possible from substantially and aggressively adding n-3FA to optimize the
nutritional foundation of severe TBI patients and must be in place if the brain
is to be given the opportunity to repair itself to the best possible extent.
Administration early in the course of treatment, in the emergency department or
sooner, has the potential to improve outcomes from this potentially devastating
public health problem.