Zinc supplements may prove useful in treating traumatic brain injuries

A new study reveals that zinc treatments may prove useful in helping patients recover from traumatic brain injuries.

Many experts have referred to the incidence of traumatic brain injuries in the U.S. as a silent epidemic: outside of professional sports, it seems that many people pay little attention to the occurrence of these sorts of injuries. The reality is, however, that traumatic brain injuries are far more common than most people might think. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about two million traumatic brain injuries occur in the U.S. each year.

Although traumatic brain injuries are common in the U.S., doctors currently have few options when it comes to treating them effectively. One recent study indicates, however, that zinc supplements may help prevent the destruction of brain cells that typically occurs after a person suffers a TBI.

Researchers at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine recently examined the effect of varying levels of zinc on rats' ability to heal following traumatic brain injury. While some rats ate a diet low in zinc, other rats ate a diet with adequate levels of zinc. Their study, which was presented at the most recent annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition, suggests that having enough zinc in a diet can help prevent brain cell death post-injury, which often contributes to the incidence of cognitive and behavioral problems.

Although this particular study was aimed at identifying ways to help soldiers who suffer traumatic brain injuries in the field, the study's author, Dr. Angus Scrimgeour, believes that his work can help patients in the civilian world, as well. Indeed, the sorts of brain injuries that soldiers suffer as a result of a blast on the battlefield are functionally similar to those suffered by individuals in car accidents and falls.

More research is needed to determine whether providing zinc supplements to patients post-injury could be an effective strategy for preventing injury. In the future, Dr. Scrimgeour also hopes to study the use of other combinations of nutrients in treating the effects of traumatic brain injuries. The use of zinc, vitamin D and other nutrients could prove to be an effective and inexpensive way to cut down on recovery time after someone suffers a TBI.

If you have suffered a traumatic brain injury in a fall or car accident, speak to a personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney can provide information about your rights and legal options. Speak to a personal injury attorney today to learn more.

Keywords: Traumatic brain injury