"Slosh Mitigation" and Omega-3s to Help with Brain Injuries

Current research for preventing and treating TBI includes the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids and the use of "slosh mitigation" — limiting the brain's ability to move around in the skull, the way, say airbags, limit the space people have to move in a car during a crash.

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We think there are a couple of things that can protect the brain. One is is the omega 3 fatty acids, particularly DHA--docosahexaenoic acid-- [Julian Bailes, MD NorthShore Neurological Institute] which is the major structural fat of the brain-- and there is injury to these membranes of the brain with concussion, or MTBI. If you don't have this dietary supplement in your system, the body really doesn't have a chance to repair. It even appears in some of our published work, at least laboratory work, that DHA is preventative against concussion. Another thing we've looked at is the concept of slosh, which is the brain's ability to freely move inside the skull. So, the concept would be then-- instead of letting the brain move around and absorb energy of a collision, to have have that energy pass through. So much like the occupants of a vehicle with an air bag and seat belts are restrained, they don't move, the energy of a major collision passes through them. Slosh mitigation would be to try to limit the brain's ability to move inside the skull-- both linearly and rotation movement. So, we've done some preliminary laboratory work looking at a collar with a small degree of compression over the internal jugular vein on both sides that increases the volume of blood inside the brain and we think that limits the free space, or the empty space that the brain normally has in order to move when there is a collision.
Posted on BrainLine April 13, 2012. Reviewed July 25, 2018.

Produced by Noel Gunther, Brian King, and Michael Yoswa, BrainLine.

About the author: Julian Bailes, MD

Julian Bailes, MD is a founding member of the Brain Injury Research Institute and professor and chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery, West Virginia University School of Medicine. He is a recognized leader in the field of neurosurgery and the impact of brain injury on cognitive function.

Julian Bailes