HIGHER OMEGA-3 DHA IN CHILDREN MAY PROVIDE BETTER SLEEP: A research team has found that higher levels of the omega-3 fatty acid called DHA and the omega-6 fatty acid called AA are associated with improved sleep. In this placebo-controlled study, all children studied were 7-9 years old. Half of the 362 children studied were given placebos and the rest took 600 mg of DHA from algae daily for 16 weeks and sleep patterns were assessed before and after the study. Also, 43 of the children were also fitted with wrist sensors to monitor their movements in bed over five nights. Results indicated that supplemented children got 58 minutes more sleep per night and had seven fewer waking episodes nightly. Blood levels of DHA were also tested and the findings indicated that higher blood levels of DHA were significantly associated with better sleep and less bedtime resistance, and total sleep disturbance. The study also found that higher ratios of DHA in relation to the long-chain omega-6 fatty acid AA (arachidonic acid) were also associated with fewer sleep problems. The study will be published in a future issue of the Journal of Sleep Research but has not yet been released to the public.
The Institute of Medicine released a comprehensive report last week on the long-term risks of blast exposure for service members.
The majority of these blasts are caused by improvised explosive devices (IED). More than 33,000 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have been wounded by an IED, but according to the IOM report, that figure likely underestimates the prevalence of blast-related injuries. Soldiers who don’t sustain noticeable or catastrophic wounds might not realize that the body absorbs a blast shock wave, sometimes causing nervous system or tissue damage that’s not apparent in the aftermath.
A new study has some disturbing information about football helmets.
The research, which was released Monday, reveals that the helmets currently used on the field may do little to protect against hits to the side of the head, which can cause brain injuries and encephalopathy.
Researchers say they modified the standard drop test system approved by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment, which tests impacts and helmet safety. A crash test dummy head and neck were used to simulate impact, and sensors were placed on the dummy’s head to measure linear and rotation responses to repeated 12 mph impacts.
Head and neck injuries may triple the odds that a young adult or child suffers the leading form of stroke, new research suggests.
While strokes remain relatively rare in younger people, they do occur, one expert said.
“Two thirds of strokes occur in people over the age of 65, but one third of strokes occur in those under the age of 65,” said Dr. Richard Libman, chief of the division of vascular neurology at North Shore-LIJ Health System in Manhasset, N.Y.
In the study, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, analyzed the medical records of 1.3 million people younger than 50 who were treated for head and neck injuries in emergency trauma departments.
They found that 145 (or 11 of every 100,000) patients suffered an ischemic stroke within four weeks of the injury. According to the American Stroke Association, 87 percent of strokes are ischemic strokes, which are caused by blocked blood flow in the brain.
“These findings are important because strokes after trauma might be preventable,” lead author Dr. Christine Fox, assistant professor of neurology at UCSF, said in an ASA news release.
Dr. Robert Glatter is director of sports medicine and traumatic brain injury at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. He believes that “the key take-home point from this study is that strokes that occur after trauma to the head and neck may be preventable, essentially by developing a greater awareness of this injury, along with prompt attention to diagnosis and treatment.”
“Although the absolute numbers of patients affected by a potential stroke seem small on a national level, the emotional, physical and financial costs are devastating, as the average age of patients suffering a stroke in this study was 37 years of age,” Glatter said. “Prompt treatment … may be lifesaving and reduce disability in the long run.”
Postpartum depression is a relatively common disorder that can lead to unhealthy early mother-infant interaction and potentially poor early childhood development. It is estimated that the disorder may affect as many as 10-15% of women in the first three months after birth. Several previous studies have looked at the possible connection between seafood intake and the incidence of postpartum depression.
In a study published online in Plos One, researchers sought to determine whether a low maternal omega-3 index in late pregnancy was associated with higher levels of postpartum depressive symptoms. The omega-3 index is a measurement of the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA in red blood cells, expressed as a percentage of total fatty acids.
The study group included 72 Norwegian women who were pregnant between November 2009 and June 2011. At 28 weeks of pregnancy, blood samples were taken from the mothers to determine the fatty acids status. At the well baby check-up 3 months postpartum, a regional version of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) was used to determine the level of depressive symptoms in the mothers.
The women with a lower omega-3 index had a higher level of depressive symptoms three months after pregnancy. When analyzing %DHA alone, the association was even more significant. In addition to the omega-3 index and DHA content, other measures such as the omega-3/omega-6 ratio were also inversely correlated to higher depressive symptoms. The reported dietary and supplemental intake of fish was highly correlated to the measured omega-3 index.
For the first time, neuroscientists have systematically identified the white matter “scaffold” of the human brain, the critical communications network that supports brain function.
Their work, published Feb. 11 in the open-source journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, has major implications for understanding brain injury and disease. By detailing the connections that have the greatest influence over all other connections, the researchers offer not only a landmark first map of core white matter pathways, but also show which connections may be most vulnerable to damage.
WASHINGTON — Adults older than 55 years with heart disease would realize individual healthcare savings if they supplemented with omega-3 dietary supplements, according to a report released Tuesday titled “Smart Prevention-Health Care Cost Savings Resulting from the Targeted Use of Dietary Supplements.”
According to the report, nearly $4 billion in cumulative net CHD-attributed cost savings from 2013 to 2020 is potentially realizable if the entire targeted population (U.S. adults older than 55 years diagnosed with CHD) were to use omega-3 dietary supplements at preventive intake levels. This is the equivalent of more than one million hospital events avoided in the next seven years, the report stated. Additionally, the report identified that only 28% of the targeted population currently takes omega-3 supplements.
Early rehabilitation interventions seem to be essential for how well a patient recovers after a severe brain injury. It might even increase the chances for long-term survival, according to researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy.
In a series of studies, Trandur Ulfarsson, doctoral student at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, has explored the long-term effects of traumatic brain injuries caused for example by accidents or violence.
The studies, where 280 Swedish and Icelandic participants were followed up 1-11 years after the injury, show a clear association between how quickly patients get access to rehabilitation and how well they recover.
CNN’s Sanjay Gupta spotlights another case where high doses of omega-3s had a substantial benefit on a 16-year old boy who was hit by a car and suffered a severe brain injury. The parents, John and JJ Virgin (JJ is a well known health and wellness author), were contacted by the Brain Health Education and Research Institute suggesting high doses of fish oil. The rest of the story is amazing. Stephanie Smith, the CNN producer who brought you the story of Bobby Ghassemi, writes the accompanying article for Grant Virgin’s story.