In a report released today , the Institute of Medicine recommends that soldiers who suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the field of battle must receive adequate calories and protein immediately after the injury and for at least 2 weeks after to help reduce inflammation and minimize the damage to the brain. The report was commissioned by the Department of Defense, which wanted a review of the potential role of nutrition in minimizing the impact of brain injury, a signature injury of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The panel of experts who drafted the report noted that although current guidelines for treating TBI recommend early feeding, the details vary.
They recommend that the military develop standardized nutritional guidelines for soldiers with brain injury and conduct studies to determine the optimal blood sugar levels and feeding regimes to minimize the impact of brain injuries.
The panel also reviewed the scientific literature on various nutritional supplements, including choline, creatine, fish oil, and antioxidants, but concluded that there is not enough evidence for beneficial effects in patients with brain injury to recommend their use at this time.